Indian-American questions marriage act in court
New Delhi, July 21: The Supreme Court was moved Wednesday on whether the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act apply to an American citizen of Indian origin whose wife has filed a suit in India for the dissolution of their marriage solemnised in the US.
This tricky question has been put before the Supreme Court by American citizen R. Sridharan.
Sridharan, who married Tamil cine actress R. Sukanya, has challenged a Madras High Court order that a family court in India had the jurisdiction of hearing a divorce case filed by the cine actress.
The petitioner contended that the marriage act clearly states that it extends to the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir.
He said that going by the jurisdiction of the act, it could not be applied to citizens of America.
The petitioner said that it was settled in law that in order to apply the provisions of act both the partners must be domiciled in India.
In the present case, petitioner Sridharan is domiciled in America and also its citizen.
He and Sukanya got married in Balaji Temple in New Jersey. Their marriage was registered July 30, 2002 with the marriage officer in the US and thus the provisions of the Foreign Marriage Act would only apply, the petitioner contended.
Sukanya left for India Jan 14, 2003 on the pretext of doing a programme in a private TV channel. Thereafter, she did not return to the US.
On July 8, 2003, Sridharan served her notice asking her to return to her matrimonial home.
On March 3, 2004, Sukanya moved the family court in Chennai seeking the dissolution of marriage. On July 17 in the same year, Sukanya got an exparte decree of divorce and thereafter started prolonged legal battle culminating in the impugned judgment of the high court.