Courts should encourage settlement of matrimonial disputes: Supreme Court

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has held that criminal case of torture filed by a woman against her husband and in-laws should be quashed if the warring spouses come to an agreement for out-of-court settlement.

It said that courts should encourage settlements of matrimonial disputes, particularly in view of "outburst" of such cases in recent times.

"If the parties ponder over their defaults and terminate their disputes amicably by mutual agreement instead of fighting it out in a court of law, in order to do complete

justice in the matrimonial matters, the courts should be less hesitant in exercising its extraordinary jurisdiction," a bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam said.

The bench, also comprising justices J S Khehar and Kurian Joseph, said that the high courts should exercise power granted to them under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code to quash criminal cases in matrimonial disputes after the parties have compromised.

"There has been an outburst of matrimonial disputes in recent times. The institution of marriage occupies an important place and it has an important role to play in the

society. Therefore, every effort should be made in the interest of the individuals in order to enable them to settle down in life and live peacefully," it said.

The bench set aside the Madhya Pradesh High Court's order which had refused to quash the FIR, filed by a woman against her husband and in-laws, after the parties agreed compromise.

"In our view, it is the duty of the courts to encourage genuine settlements of matrimonial disputes, particularly, when the same are on considerable increase," it said.

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