Divorce plea in Delhi HC brings out interesting legal implications

Does the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 enable a court to dissolve the marriage of a Scheduled Tribe couple? The Delhi High Court wants to consider this interesting issue and delve into whether the act can be used for filing and taking divorce, as much as The Christian Marriage Act, 1872 is applicable to Christian Tribes and the Muslim Women(Protection on Divorce Act) Act, 2019 is applicable to Muslim Tribes.

Case: Satprakash Meena Vs Alka Meena

Justice Prathiba M. Singh, who will take up the case on June 3, has asked the petitioner, belonging to a Scheduled Tribe and seeking divorce in accordance with the Hindu Marriage Act, to place on record judgments, if any, relating to whether people Christians and Muslims, also from Scheduled Tribes, are governed by their respective personal laws, such as the Special Marriage Act of 1954 and the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937.

The petition has been filed by Satprakash Meena, through his lawyer Fudan Kumar Jha. Meena seeks directions to dissolve the marriage with his wife by a decree of divorce as provided under Section 13-1(IA) of the Hindu Marriage Act. The petitioner submitted that the marriage was solemnised on June 26, 2012 in Jaipur, as per Hindu rites and ceremonies. He has also said that he had a dispute with his wife because of her “callous attitude”, and because she did not want to live with him in Delhi, where he is working as electrical engineer with the DDCA.

The petitioner has further submitted that he had filed the divorce (petition No.863/18) before the Delhi District Court. His wife had countered the divorce petition with an FIR under section 498A (cruelty) and Under DV Act in Jaipur, with the plea that her marriage was solemnised according to Hindu rites and ceremonies in Jaipur.

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It has been further contended that before the trial court she had filed an application under Order VII rule 11 CPC for rejection of petition on the plea that she belong to Mina/Meena Tribe, hence Hindu Marriage Act is not applicable for grant of divorce to the petitioner. The petitioner relied on the said application that marriage of the parties was solemnised according to Hindu rites and ceremonies, hence divorce to be granted according to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The court has now to see whose legal position is tenable.
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