Marital disputes between Hindu couples that get married in India, but are settled abroad are not governed by provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, the Bombay High Court ruled last week.
The court has said such couples will have to abide by judgements of courts in the country where they are settled.
The ruling has come in response to a petition challenging a Pune family court order that it had jurisdiction to decide the matrimonial dispute between the petitioner and her husband on the basis of the husband’s claim that the couple had stayed in Pune for one night.
Kishorkumar Kale, a software engineer, and Kashmira were in the United States of America before they got married. Their wedding took place in Mumbai on December 25, 2005, because their parents live here. The newly-weds returned to America a month later and settled down in Michigan.
They lived together until Kashmira filed for divorce in a local court in Michigan in September 2008. The husband chose to return to India instead of responding to the proceedings.
Acting on the wife’s plea, the Michigan court dissolved the marriage and distributed the property between the spouses. Kale had initiated separate proceedings in the Pune family court. In September 2009, the family court ruled that it had jurisdiction to try the matrimonial dispute because the husband claimed that they had stayed in Pune for one night.
Kashmira challenged this court order in the high court where a single judge bench of Justice Roshan Dalvi held that the Pune family court had no jurisdiction to try the husband’s plea. “The Pune court was not the court in the jurisdiction of which the parties (to the marriage) last resided together,” Justice Dalvi observed.
The High Court concluded that the couple was “domiciled” in the US because the husband had a Green Card and the wife had a work permit.