Wedding reception not part of marriage, doesn’t confer jurisdiction: Bombay HC | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Wedding reception not part of marriage, doesn’t confer jurisdiction: Bombay HC

Apr 17, 2024 09:22 AM IST

The couple married in June 2015 in Jodhpur and a wedding reception took place in Mumbai four days later

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday upheld a woman’s contention against a Bandra family court hearing her husband’s divorce petition, holding that their wedding reception held in Mumbai in 2015 could not confer jurisdiction to the family court concerned to decide matrimonial disputes between the spouses.

 (FILE IMAGE)
(FILE IMAGE)

“In my view, there can’t be any doubt that a wedding reception can’t be part of the marriage ritual,” justice Rajesh Patil said in his verdict on Monday, accepting the petition by the 38-year-old woman who has filed for divorce in the United States where the couple shifted after their marriage.

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The couple married in June 2015 at Jodhpur in Rajasthan according to Hindu rites and rituals. Four days after their marriage, a wedding reception took place in Mumbai. After the reception, the couple stayed in the city for around 10 days at the husband’s parents’ place and thereafter went to the United States.

They lived together for around four years after the marriage and have been living separately since October 2019.

In August 2020, the husband filed a divorce petition before the family court in Bandra on the grounds of cruelty. Four months later, the wife also instituted a separate divorce proceeding in the US. In August 2021, the wife filed a plea before the family court at Bandra, questioning the maintainability of her estranged husband’s divorce petition, arguing that the Mumbai court didn’t have jurisdiction to adjudicate the divorce petition under Section 19 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

Under Section 19, the husband can present a divorce petition to the court within whose jurisdiction the marriage was solemnised, or the respondent resided at the time of the presentation of the petition, or the parties to the marriage last resided together.

The wife’s lawyer argued before the high court that the husband’s divorce petition was not maintainable before the Mumbai court because the reception, which took place in the city, cannot be termed as a marriage ritual, and that both parties were living in the USA at the time of presenting the divorce petition.

Justice Patil accepted the argument and held that the family court at Bandra did not have the jurisdiction to adjudicate the divorce petition.

“In my opinion, in the present proceedings, the last residing together of the couple would be the USA, and it can’t be Mumbai, where the couple briefly stayed for less than 10 days immediately after their marriage. Hence, the Family Court in Mumbai will have no jurisdiction under sub-section (iii) of 19 of the Hindu Marriage Act to entertain the divorce petition,” said Justice Patil.

The court also rejected the husband’s argument that the city should be regarded as the place where they “last residing together” since the woman’s matrimonial home was in Mumbai.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Special Correspondent. I have spent over a decade covering courts in Mumbai, primarily the Bombay High Court, and including several important trials like trial of 120 accused in March 1993 Mumbai bombings, 26/11 case - trial of Ajmal Kasab.

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