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Author Topic: Can divorce for Indian Marriage be given in America?  (Read 451 times)

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Offline legalM

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Can divorce for Indian Marriage be given in America?
« on: March 23, 2016, 11:50:59 AM »
Hi,

I know it is strange but many NRI's are doing this. Unfortunately even Karnataka High Court Judge has blindly considered divorce from America in my sister's case. I am taking this to supreme court. I am not sure if he was bribed or what is the reason for him to consider it. However I want to know can I fight at supreme court?

1) I want to know what is the chance of my sister getting the justice.
2) I received the high court order on 1/3/2016 for the criminal case filed. Till when can I file in supreme court? Please consider the holi and other holidays after 1/3/2016.
3) My lawyer says we have time till 8/4/2016. Please let me know if it is correct.

Thank you.

Offline adv.amarnath

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Re: Can divorce for Indian Marriage be given in America?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2016, 11:45:36 PM »
1) I want to know what is the chance of my sister getting the justice.
Absolutely, you sister has very much chances to get justice. Further the Justice has no applied his judicial mind. But if she had contested divorce case abroad then there is less hope for getting justice.

2) I received the high court order on 1/3/2016 for the criminal case filed. Till when can I file in supreme court? Please consider the holi and other holidays after 1/3/2016.
No, computation of limitation period starts from the date of passing order. Please go through Section 5 of Limitation Act.

3) My lawyer says we have time till 8/4/2016. Please let me know if it is correct.
The number of days will be considered which was spent for getting certified copy of impugned order i.e. date of application till date of issue of certified copy).
Regards,

Amarnath Sanyal
Advocate
Email - adv.amarnath.sanyal@gmail.com
Mob - 09830303322

Offline rajgopal sripathi

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Re: Can divorce for Indian Marriage be given in America?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2016, 08:37:30 AM »
Hi
By Law, any ex-parte divorce granted by the USA court is not valid in india. The ex-parte decree cannot be ratified/recognised by any court in india. there are many supreme court judgments on this matter.
See the judgment in this regard
Taking on from where it was left by Satya v. Teja, the Court explained the implications of each clause of Section 13 in this case. The relevant portion of the judgment is worth quoting:

Clause (a):

�15. Clause (a) of Section 13 states that a foreign judgment shall not be recognised if it has not been pronounced by a court of competent jurisdiction. We are of the view that this clause should be interpreted to mean that only that court will be a court of competent jurisdiction which the Act or the law under which the parties are married recognises as a court of competent jurisdiction to entertain the matrimonial dispute. Any other court should be held to be a court without jurisdiction unless both parties voluntarily and unconditionally subject themselves to the jurisdiction of that court. The expression �competent court� in Section 41 of the Indian Evidence Act has also to be construed likewise.�

Clause (b):

 �16. Clause (b) of Section 13 states that if a foreign judgment has not been given on the merits of the case, the courts in this country will not recognise such judgment. This clause should be interpreted to mean (a) that the decision of the foreign court should be on a ground available under the law under which the parties are married, and (b) that the decision should be a result of the contest between the parties. The latter requirement is fulfilled only when the respondent is duly served and voluntarily and unconditionally submits himself/herself to the jurisdiction of the court and contests the claim, or agrees to the passing of the decree with or without appearance. A mere filing of the reply to the claim under protest and without submitting to the jurisdiction of the court, or an appearance in the court either in person or through a representative for objecting to the jurisdiction of the court, should not be considered as a decision on the merits of the case. In this respect the general rules of the acquiescence to the jurisdiction of the court which may be valid in other matters and areas should be ignored and deemed inappropriate.�

Clause (c):

�17. The second part of clause (c) of Section 13 states that where the judgment is founded on a refusal to recognise the law of this country in cases in which such law is applicable, the judgment will not be recognised by the courts in this country. The marriages which take place in this country can only be under either the customary or the statutory law in force in this country. Hence, the only law that can be applicable to the matrimonial disputes is the one under which the parties are married, and no other law. When, therefore, a foreign judgment is founded on a jurisdiction or on a ground not recognised by such law, it is a judgment which is in defiance of the law. Hence, it is not conclusive of the matters adjudicated therein and, therefore, unenforceable in this country. For the same reason, such a judgment will also be unenforceable under clause (f) of Section 13, since such a judgment would obviously be in breach of the matrimonial law in force in this country.�

Clause (d):

�18. Clause (d) of Section 13 which makes a foreign judgment unenforceable on the ground that the proceedings in which it is obtained are opposed to natural justice, states no more than an elementary principle on which any civilised system of justice rests. However, in matters concerning the family law such as the matrimonial disputes, this principle has to be extended to mean something more than mere compliance with the technical rules of procedure. If the rule of audi alteram partem has any meaning with reference to the proceedings in a foreign court, for the purposes of the rule it should not be deemed sufficient that the respondent has been duly served with the process of the court. It is necessary to ascertain whether the respondent was in a position to present or represent himself/herself and contest effectively the said proceedings. This requirement should apply equally to the appellate proceedings if and when they are filed by either party. If the foreign court has not ascertained and ensured such effective contest by requiring the petitioner to make all necessary provisions for the respondent to defend including the costs of travel, residence and litigation where necessary, it should be held that the proceedings are in breach of the principles of natural justice. It is for this reason that we find that the rules of Private International! Law of some countries insist, even in commercial matters, that the action should be filed in the forum where the defendant is either domiciled or is habitually resident.�

On the basis of the above interpretation, the Court then went on to lay down a golden rule that has been repeatedly followed and relied upon in subsequent cases:

�20. � The jurisdiction assumed by the foreign court as well as the grounds on which the relief is granted must be in accordance with the matrimonial law under which the parties are married. The only three exceptions to this rule were also laid down by the Court itself as follows:

(i) where the matrimonial action is filed in the forum where the respondent is domiciled or habitually and permanently resides and the relief is granted on a ground available in the matrimonial law under which the parties are married;

(ii) where the respondent voluntarily and effectively submits to the jurisdiction of the forum as discussed above and contests the claim which is based on a ground available under the matrimonial law under which the parties are married;

(iii) where the respondent consents to the grant of the relief although the jurisdiction of the forum is not in accordance with the provisions of the matrimonial law of the parties."

Bringing in the benefit of certainty and predictability of law, the Court said that ��the aforesaid rule with its stated exceptions has the merit of being just and equitable. It does no injustice to any of the parties. The parties do and ought to know their rights and obligations when they marry under a particular law. They cannot be heard to make a grievance about it later or allowed to bypass it by subterfuges as in the present case. The rule also has an advantage of rescuing the institution of marriage from the uncertain maze of the rules of the Private International Law of the different countries with regard to jurisdiction and merits based variously on domicile, nationality, residence � permanent or temporary or ad hoc, forum, proper law etc. and ensuring certainty in the most vital field of national life and conformity with public policy�.�

According to the Court, the decree dissolving the marriage passed by the foreign court was without jurisdiction in this case as according to the HMA Act neither the marriage was celebrated nor the parties had last resided together nor the respondent resided within the jurisdiction of that court. The decree was also passed on a ground which was not available under the HMA Act which is applicable to the marriage. Further, the decree had been obtained by the husband by representing that he was the resident of the Missouri State when the record showed that he was only a �bird of passage�- He had, if at all, only technically satisfied the requirement of residence of 90 days with the only purpose of obtaining the divorce. The court reiterated that residence does not mean a temporary residence for the purpose of obtaining a divorce, but �habitual residence� or residence which is intended to be permanent for future as well.

The final judgment therefore was that since with regard to the jurisdiction of the forum as well as the ground on which the foreign court had passed the decree in the case, were not in accordance with the Act under which the parties were married, and the respondent had not submitted to the jurisdiction of the court or consented to its passing, it could not be recognised by the courts in this country and was unenforceable.

The Court finally said: �We believe that the relevant provisions of Section 13 of the Code are capable of being interpreted to secure the required certainty in the sphere of this branch of law in conformity with public policy, justice, equity and good conscience, and the rules so evolved will protect the sanctity of the institution of marriage and the unity of family which are the cornerstones of our societal life.�

Please refer to the website for time lines for appeal ( http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/handbook3rdedition.pdf)

Rajgopal Sripathi
Mobile:9704772200
email:rajgopal@legalwin.in

 

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