ex-parte divorce granted by Foreign Court Invalid: Delhi High Court
The Delhi high court has held that divorce granted by a foreign court on the ground of “irretrievable break down of marriage” is not valid in India.
The court said this was because the Hindu Marriage Act did not recognize this ground valid for dissolution of marriage.
“Both the parties are Indians and marriage between them was solemnised at New Delhi according to Hindu rites and both are governed by the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA). Their marriage has been dissolved by a court in UK on the ground of having been broken down irretrievably which is not a ground for divorce under the HMA…” Justice Veena Birbal said citing a supreme court judgment.
The court said this while rejecting the plea of an Indian-origin UK resident to drop the divorce proceedings initiated by his wife in Delhi on the ground that he had already secured a divorce decree from a UK court in 2011.
From the records the judge found that the UK court’s was an ex-parte decree (without hearing the wife) and she had not submitted herself to the jurisdiction of the foreign court.
“She also informed that she was in acute financial difficulty to come to London to contest the divorce case. She wrote in detail about her financial condition and also informed that she had already filed a divorce petition in India. She requested the UK court not to make the divorce decree ‘absolute’…… In these circumstances, it cannot be said that she had submitted to the jurisdiction of the foreign court,” the court said.
They couple fell in love after meeting each other in UK in 2004 and got married in Delhi in March 2005. With the passage of time, disputes arose between them as a result of which they could not live together.
She came back to Delhi in 2009 and filed a divorce petition in a court here leveling charges of domestic violence, cruelty and assault against her husband.
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