The kerala High Court has delivered a notable judgement holding that unilateral withdrawal of consent by a spouse from a joint petition filed for divorce, after the other party has performed his/her obligations under the agreement is unsustainable in law.
The Court termed it a “Sharp Practice”, which cannot be permitted or tolerated for moment as it would shatter the faith of litigant in the justice deliver system and mockery of Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism.
Once the parties agree to file a joint Petition, pursuant to an agreement/compromise in pending proceedings , then the parties are estopped from withdrawing from agreement, the court held categorically.
“…..we hold that once the parties agree to file a joint petition, pursuant to an agreement or compromise in pending proceeding, then the parties are estopped from resiling from agreement. Therefore, the unilateral withdrawal of consent by the respondent, especially after the appellant has performed his part of terms in the memorandum of agreement, is only a sharp practice which cannot be permitted or tolerated for a moment as it would shatter the faith of the litigants in the justice delivery system and make a mockery of Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism”, observed a division bench comprising justice A M Muhammed Mustaque and CS Dias.