Bombay HC permits NRI to offer divorce nod through Skype

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has allowed an to give her consent for a mutual divorce from her estranged husband through ” or any other technology”.

Justice Bharati Dangre overturned a family court‘s order refusing to register the US-based woman‘s petition for divorce on the grounds that she was not personally present to file it. The court allowed the woman‘s father as the power of attorney holder to pursue the case in place of his daughter.

“Due to globalization and since educated young persons are crossing the borders of India, it is not possible to remain present (to file petitions),” said the high court. The bench said the family court judge had merely stated that both the husband and wife should remain present to file the petition without referring to the law or the judgments in the matter.

Justice Dangre referred to another high court decision permitting online marriage counselling with the help of webcam.

“There is no legal lacunae in filing of the petition through a registered power of attorney… the family court will not insist on the presence of the parties before the court and would arrange for the consent terms to be recorded either through Skype or adopting any other technology,” said the judge.

The couple had got married in Jalgaon in 2002 and was living separately since 2016. Last year, the couple approached the high court under section 13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, seeking divorce by mutual consent.

The provision allows a couple living separately for a year to approach the family court for divorce by mutual consent. The court gives a verdict after ascertaining the “irrevocable breakdown of the marriage with no possibility of any reconciliation”. The family court rejected their petition on the grounds that the woman was not present.

Advocate , counsel for the woman, said she was employed in the US, and due to employment rules and regulations, she could not obtain leave to come personally to file the petition. The advocate cited earlier high court orders and said that in the light of technological development, it was permissible for the family court to arrange for e-counselling and e-verification by video conference.

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