The family court, not the civil court, can decide property disputes between divorced couples, the Bombay High Court has ruled.
The HC upheld the ruling of a district court in a case where a woman had claimed that a dispute over a flat between her and her estranged husband be tried in the civil court.
Jyoti Pandit had approached the civil court in 1999 saying she and ex-husband, Vinay Deshpande, had purchased a flat under joint ownership after their marriage.
The couple had married in 1981 and got divorced in 1994.
Pandit claimed the ownership in the house saying she had repaid the entire amount of the flat in cash to Deshpande. She added that after Deshpande resigned from his job, she had paid the loan instalments.
The civil court had ruled that only the family court could try such matters. After the district court upheld the civil court's ruling, Pandit moved the HC last year.
In her petition, Pandit said she and Deshpande were no more a husband and a wife and that the civil court had concurrent jurisdiction to entertain and try the suit.
Justice A.S. Oka of the HC observed that under the Family Courts Act, only the family court has the right to hear the property disputes between husband and wife even after their divorce.
Justice Oka also cited a similar observation made by the Supreme Court earlier.