The Bombay High Court on Monday held that the Hindu Marriage Act,1955 can apply to Hindu couples who have previously lived together in Jammu and Kashmir and have now separated.
The judgment came in response to a dispute between an estranged couple whose marriage had been solemnised in Jammu and Kashmir. The couple had also lived in Jammu for 15 years after their marriage,till they separated in June 2008.
The wife later came to Mumbai and filed an application for divorce at the family court here. However,the husband filed an application,contending that the dissolution proceedings of their marriage should be decided by a court in Jammu and Kashmir.
While giving its judgment,a division bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and N M Jamdar said,There is no express provision in the Central Act (Hindu Marriage Act) to suggest that,if the marriage is solemnised outside the territories to which the Central Act extends,presentation of petition by invoking provisions of the Central Act would be barred.
The wifes response to the husbands application pointed to Section 1(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act,1955. The section says that the Act extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir,and applies also to Hindus domiciled in the territories to which this Act extends,who are outside the said territories.
However,the husband had referred to Section 21 of the Jammu and Kashmir Hindu Marriages Act,1980,which says that every petition under the Act needs to be presented to the district court within the limits of whose ordinary jurisdiction the marriage was solemnised.
While dealing with this argument,the judges said,…that does not mean that Section 21 bars presentation of the petition under the Central Act.
The judges also referred to a hypothetical case of destination marriages,in which neither of the spouses may have any connection with the place of marriage. Does it mean that even those parties must necessarily go back to the same place where they performed their marriage?…The answer must be an emphatic no.
The judgment also referred to a possibility in which a couple gets married when one or both of them are in Central government service,and are later transferred out of J&K.
In her application for divorce,the wife has demanded that she be granted a permanent alimony of Rs 2 crore,as also an amount of Rs 75,000 per month as maintenance. The application is pending before the family court.