Can’t de­cide on Jewish cou­ple’s di­vorce plea: HC

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - @times­group.com

Bom­bay HC said Jews are reg­u­lated by their per­sonal laws and there is not statute on their mat­ri­mo­nial af­fairs

Mum­bai: A Jewish cou­ple’s pe­ti­tion for di­vorce by mu­tual con­sent was dis­missed by the fam­ily court, Ban­dra, as “there is no such pro­vi­sion in the un­cod­i­fied Jewish law gov­ern­ing mat­ri­mo­nial af­fairs”.

The court heard a pe­ti­tion by the cou­ple, both In­dian cit­i­zens who got mar­ried in ac­cor­dance with Jewish cus­toms in De­cem­ber 2012. In Septem­ber 2013, the wife, a char­tered ac­coun­tant, was al­legedly driven out of the mat­ri­mo­nial home. She moved the fam­ily court in Au­gust 2014 to seek a di­vorce un­der the un­cod­i­fied Jewish law, cit­ing cru­elty and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. In her pe­ti­tion, she also men­tioned the Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Act, 2005, and the Fam­ily Court Act, 1984, with re­gards to the court’s ju­ris­dic­tion in suits or pro­ceed­ings that con­cern va­lid­ity of a mar­riage or mat­ri­mo­nial sta­tus of a per­son.

The hus­band, a mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sional, coun­tered the woman’s al­le­ga­tion and said that he un­der­went phys­i­cal stress and men­tal agony at her hands. Af­ter coun­selling ses­sions, both agreed to am­i­ca­bly set­tle the dis­pute and ex­e­cuted con­sent terms. How­ever, in March 2018, the court di­rected both the par­ties to ar­gue how the pe­ti­tion is main­tain­able for grant­ing di­vorce by mu­tual con­sent un­der the Jewish law.

The wife’s ad­vo­cate, Neelo­far Akhtar, and the hus­band’s ad­vo­cate, Rani Ra­jwade, con­ceded be­fore Judge S N Rukme there is no cod­i­fied law to grant such re­lief to Jews. But Akhtar pointed out the fam­ily court had ear­lier al­lowed di­vorce by mu­tual con­sent for Jewish cou­ples.

The judge, in his Septem­ber 24, 2018, or­der, said the Bom­bay HC has laid down that Jews are reg­u­lated by their per­sonal law and there is no statute gov­ern­ing their mat­ri­mo­nial af­fairs.

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