(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, it shall not be competent for any court to entertain any petition for dissolution of a marriage by a decree of divorce, unless at the date of the presentation of the petition one year has elapsed since the date of the marriage:

Provided that the court may, upon application made to it in accordance with such rules as may be made by the High Court in that behalf, allow a petition to be presented before one year has elapsed since the date of the marriage on the ground that the case is one of exceptional hardship to the petitioner or of exceptional depravity on the part of the respondent, but if it appears to the court at the hearing of the petition that the petitioner obtained leave to present the petition by any misrepresentation or concealment of the nature of the case, the court may, if it pronounces a decree, do so subject to the condition that the decree shall not have effect until after the expiry of one year from the date of the marriage or may dismiss the petition without prejudice to any petition which may be brought after expiration of the said one year upon the same or substantially the same facts as those alleged in support of the petition so dismissed.

(2) In disposing of any application under this section for leave to present a petition for divorce before the expiration of one year from the date of the marriage, the court shall have regard to the interests of any children of the marriage and to the question whether there is a reasonable probability of a reconciliation between the parties before the expiration of the said one year.

Bullet Points on Section 14 HMA:

  1. No divorce petition allowed within 1 year of marriage unless under exceptional circumstances.
  2. Court may permit early petition presentation for hardship or depravity cases.
  3. Court can delay the effect of the decree until after one year or dismiss the petition.
  4. The interests of children are considered in divorce petition decisions.
  5. Probability of reconciliation between parties is evaluated before early divorce petitions.

Landmark Judgements on Section 14 HMA:

RISHU AGGARWAL vs MOHIT GOYAL: Hon’ble Delhi High Court held that: “Denial of conjugal relationship is a ground for divorce, and tantamount to cruelty, but the same cannot be said to amount to “exceptional hardship”. The exception of “exceptional hardship” or “exceptional depravity” would be attracted in extenuating circumstances, and is not intended to mean, or be treated, on the same lines as cruelty simpliciter.”

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