High Court to decide legality

A knotty issue: Married in India, divorced abroad


The case before the court pertains to a 37-year-old marriage of Girish and Lata Mehta.
The couple tied the knot way back in 1972. A few years later, Girish moved to the United States, while Lata and their son stayed in India. They visited him in the US occasionally.
The relations between the couple soured ten years after the marriage, and Girish applied for divorce to a court in Illinois while Lata was in India.

He told the US court that he did not know his wife’s whereabouts. The court granted him divorce in 1983, when he was still an Indian citizen.

Later, in 1988 he attained US citizenship. Girish then wedded for the second time. In 1996, Lata moved a lower court here, initiating criminal proceedings against him for bigamy, which is an offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Following this, Girish filed a petition before the Bombay High Court, seeking to quash the proceedings for bigamy.  Justice Abhay Oka, who heard the final arguments on Girish’s petition early this week, asked the lawyers: “Can the US court dissolve marriage solmenised under Hindu Marriage Act?”

Lata’s lawyer Abad Ponda pointed out that a family court in Mumbai held divorce granted by US court invalid in 2003. Justice Oka has now reserved the judgement.



'Mangalsutra'  not must

Madurai, PTI:  A woman’s 21-year legal quest to prove that she was married bore fruit with a Madras High Court bench here upholding the validity of her wedding saying it was not mandatory for the groom to tie a ‘mangalsutra’ around the bride’s neck to prove a marriage between Hindus.

“It is not mandatory for the groom to tie mangalsutra around the bride’s neck to prove a marriage between Hindus. It is sufficient to prove solemnisation of marriage in any recognised form as per the Hindu Marriage Act Section 7,” Justice M M Sundresh said, dismissing an appeal challenging a lower court order upholding the marriage validity.

According to the woman, her marriage with Kaladhar was solemnised on December 13, 1987 at a local temple after she became pregnant.

She alleged that her husband harassed her for dowry and deserted her five months later. Her baby also died during delivery on July 6, 1988, she claimed.

The woman then filed a case seeking a declaration that that she was the legally wedded wife of the appellant.

The lower court decree upheld the validity of the marriage in 1998.

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