The Bombay High Court has ruled that if a couple marries under the Hindu Marriage Act , they can seek divorce only under the same law even if they give up Indian citizenship.
The HC delivered this judgment while hearing a petition filed by a U.K. national against his wife. Both the husband and the wife are British nationals of Indian origin. Doctor by profession, the couple is currently battling for the custody of their 3.5 year old daughter. The daughter is also a U.K citizen by birth.
“The Court at London is not the competent court of jurisdiction to decide the issue of dissolution of marriage between two Hindus married in India as per the Hindu Vedic rites,” a division bench comprising Justice V L Achliya and Justice Vijaya Kapse Tahilramani stated.
The bench was upholding a family court’s order to award custody of the child to her mother, Dr. Seema Deshpande who returned to India with her daughter in 2012 and filed for divorce. Dr. Vinod Ranade, her husband, however claimed that a London court had issued an order asking Deshpande to bring back the child to the U.K.
“Once the provisions of Hindu Marriage Act apply, they would continue to apply as long as the marriage exists and even for the marriage’s dissolution. The Hindu marriage gives rise to a bundle of rights and obligations between the parties to the marriage and their progeny,” the HC bench observed.
“The minor is a 3.5-year-old girl. It is doubtful if Ranade will be in a position to take better care of a girl child so young. On the other hand, Seema, who is in India, has the support of her sister, mother and other relatives who can help her in looking after the child,” said the HC.