The Bombay High Court issued a significant ruling affirming a woman’s plea against a Bandra family court’s jurisdiction over her husband’s divorce petition. The court stated that their wedding reception, held in Mumbai in 2015, does not confer jurisdiction to decide matrimonial disputes, upholding the woman’s argument.

Justice Rajesh Patil, delivering the verdict on Monday, emphasized that a wedding reception cannot be considered part of the marriage ritual. The case pertains to a 38-year-old woman who filed for divorce in the United States, where the couple relocated after their marriage in June 2015 in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, followed by a reception in Mumbai four days later.

The husband filed for divorce in Mumbai in August 2020, citing cruelty, while the wife initiated separate divorce proceedings in the US. In August 2021, she challenged the Bandra family court’s jurisdiction, arguing that the Mumbai court lacked authority under Section 19 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

Section 19 stipulates that a divorce petition can be presented to the court within whose jurisdiction the marriage was solemnized, where the respondent resided, or where the parties last resided together. The wife’s counsel contended that the Mumbai reception did not constitute a marriage ritual, and both parties were residing in the USA at the time of filing the petition.

Justice Patil concurred with the argument, stating that the brief stay in Mumbai did not qualify as the last residence of the couple, which was in the USA. The court dismissed the husband’s contention that Mumbai should be considered their last place of residence due to the woman’s matrimonial home being in the city.

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