Those involved in matrimonial disputes cannot seek any relief from family courts pertaining to properties held in the names of their children, the Bombay high court ruled on Wednesday.
“The Hindu Marriage Act cannot apply to any proceeding between the father and the son, except for matters relating to custody and access, and maintenance and education of the children,” observed a single judge bench of justice Roshan Dalvi.
The court noted that though family courts are empowered to pass orders regarding disputed properties owned by spouses jointly or singly, in the case at hand, which involved a couple married way in November 1972 at Kobe in Japan, there was no dispute about the properties between the warring spouses.
“The family court’s jurisdiction requires a dispute between the husband and wife with regard to their marital status, including child custody or child maintenance,” justice Dalvi observed.
The court held that the family court could not assume jurisdiction in absence of any such matrimonial dispute and merely pass an order about distribution of the properties.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the wife challenging the Bandra family court’s decision of June 2004 that it had the jurisdiction to try her husband’s divorce petition under the Hindu Marriage Act.
The couple’s had registered their marriage under provisions of the Foreign Marriage Act.
She had also challenged the family court’s decision to appoint a commission for taking stock of all properties belonging to the couple and their two children. Justice Dalvi allowed her appeal and set aside the rulings and directions of the family court.
The high court held that divorce petition under provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act cannot be entertained if the marriage was registered under the Foreign Marriage Act.