A Parsi man, who married according to Hindu rites and sought nullity of marriage on religious grounds, has failed to get any relief from the Bombay High Court. The HC observed that the family court was right in rejecting the man’s ground of divorce which was based on him professing a different religion.
“The husband has come up with a very strange case. According to him, he is a ‘Parsi’ by birth and continues to profess his faith. However, the petition was filed by him before the Family Court under the Hindu Marriage Act,” the court stated.
While dismissing the appeal recently, Justices V K Tahilramani and A R Joshi said that they are of the opinion that the Family Court was right in holding that there was no cause of action to file the petition and the petition was barred by law.
The couple got married on April 15, 1999 according to Hindu Vedic rites. According to the husband, while he was a ‘Parsi’ by religion at the time of the marriage and continues to profess his faith, his wife was a Hindu at the time of marriage and continues to be a ‘Hindu’.
The husband had filed a petition in 2009 in a Family Court under the Hindu Marriage Act on grounds of cruelty and desertion, since his wife left his house in 2006. Later, he withdrew the petition and subsequently filed a fresh petition, seeking “decree of nullity of marriage” in 2011.
“There is delay of 12 years and in between a baby boy was born out of the wedlock. No reason is pointed out by the appellant (husband) to show what compelled him to suddenly realise that he belonged to a different religion and therefore, the marriage should be declared a nullity. This shows that he is taking advantage of his own wrong,” the court observed.
In response, the wife had said that her husband had voluntarily married her. She pointed out that the earlier petition was filed on the grounds of cruelty and desertion, which was withdrawn by him and as far as the present petition is concerned, there is no ground for claiming nullity.
“According to the husband, parties got married as per Hindu Vedic rites and he had not converted to Hindu religion at the time of marriage. If this is his contention, the appellant has to satisfy this court as to how he filed the petition before the Family Court, seeking decree of nullity under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act,” the judge observed.
The provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act are applicable when both spouses are Hindus and it does not apply to any party who is a Parsi, Jew, Christian or Muslim. “The appellant is a Parsi, so he cannot avail of the provisions of this Act,” the court said.