HC junks Mumbai man’s plea to prevent wife from filing for divorce in Australia

The woman in September 2019 sent the man a notice for assets division seeking a 50℅ share in their property. Two months later, she filed a suit in this regard in a federal circuit court in Australia. The couple agreed to a parenting plan for their son while the husband filed a divorce petition in a family court in Mumbai
Bombay high court. (File photo)
Bombay high court. (File photo)
Published on Sep 02, 2021 09:16 AM IST
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ByKanchan Chaudhari

The Bombay high court has rejected a Mumbai man’s plea for restraining his estranged wife from filing a divorce petition in Australia and pursuing an assets division suit filed in that country. The couple, who got married in Mumbai in November 2004, moved to Australia in 2015 before separating there.

The woman in September 2019 sent the man a notice for assets division seeking a 50℅ share in their property. Two months later, she filed a suit in this regard in a federal circuit court in Australia. The couple agreed to a parenting plan for their son while the husband filed a divorce petition in a family court in Mumbai. The man also moved a plea for an anti-suit injunction against his wife to restrain her from filing divorce proceedings in Australia and pursuing the assets division suit.

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In April, the family court rejected his plea, prompting the man to approach the high court. The man’s lawyer argued in the high court that since the parties are domiciled in India and got married in Mumbai, only courts in the Indian city have the jurisdiction to adjudicate their marital dispute. He argued the family shifted to Australia, but the man never intended to acquire Australian citizenship. The lawyer said the man has never submitted himself to the jurisdiction of Australian courts. He added the courts in that country cannot be allowed to adjudicate the dispute.

The court rejected the arguments saying the man expressed his intention to settle down in Australia and also submitted himself to the jurisdiction of Australian courts when he attended joints sessions for deciding parenting plans for their son. “There is nothing brought on record to show how the husband will suffer grave injustice if the anti-suit injunction is refused,” the court said. “Not only the husband has expressed his intention to settle in Australia to the Immigration Specialist, but even has purchased property. Their stay in Australia cannot be regarded as a short stay for a temporary period which otherwise could have been regarded as one of the factors to consider grant of an anti-suit injunction.”

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