SC declines man's plea to stop wife from approaching US court

A bench of justices R K Agrawal and R Banumathi said that the mere fact that the respondent-wife has filed the case on a ground which is not available to her under the Hindu Marriage Act doesn’t mean that there is the likelihood of her succeeding in getting a decree for divorce. (DH file photo)

The Supreme Court has rejected a plea by a man to restrain his wife from approaching a court in the US to pursue divorce proceedings on the ground of "irretrievable breakdown" of marriage.

He claimed the wife approached the court in Florida as the ground of "irretrievable breakdown" of marriage was not available under the Hindu Marriage Act.

A bench of justices R K Agrawal and R Banumathi said that the mere fact that the respondent-wife has filed the case on a ground which is not available to her under the Hindu Marriage Act doesn’t mean that there is the likelihood of her succeeding in getting a decree for divorce.

"The foreign court cannot be presumed to be exercising its jurisdiction wrongly even after the appellant (husband) being able to prove that the parties in the present case are continued to be governed by the law governing Hindus in India, in the matter of dispute between them," the bench said.

The couple, after having married in 1995, obtained US citizenship in 2003. Two children were also born out of the wedlock. Following differences, the husband filed a divorce petition in the family court at Gurugram, while the wife filed the same in the court in Florida.

He had challenged a Punjab and Haryana High Court order which rejected his plea against the vacation of the ad-interim injunction against the wife to approach the foreign court in the matter.

He sought anti-suit injunctions against the wife.

The bench said the courts in India have the power to issue an anti-suit injunction to a party over whom it has personal jurisdiction in an appropriate case.

However, courts should be very cautious and careful, as such orders involve a court impinging on the jurisdiction of another court, it said.

"The contention that the appellant-husband will suffer grave injustice if the proceedings are allowed to be continued in the Circuit Court, Florida, USA doesn't stand to the ground as he himself has been residing there after 2007 and the proceedings in India were initiated by him through another person by empowering him through a power of attorney," the bench said.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry