Delhi High Court: The Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, JJ., upheld the Family Court’s decision and directed the parties approach the local Court of Singapore with regard to sorting out their matrimonial dispute.
Present appeal was filed seeking a direction against the Family Court’s decision, wherein the appellant/plaintiff sought an anti-suit injunction against the defendant/respondent to seek restraint against him for proceeding with a divorce petition filed by him to seek dissolution of marriage before the Family Justice Courts of the Republic of Singapore.
Family Court had granted injunction till the next date of hearing, restraining the defendant/respondent from prosecuting, pursuing or going ahead with his divorce action or any other proceedings as emanating from the matrimony in the case pending in Singapore Court.
Bench found that the Family Court took note of the law laid down by the Supreme Court decisions on the aspect of grant on anti-injunction suit. Following were decisions of Supreme Court that were relied upon by the Family Court:
Y.Narasimha Rao v. Y. Venkata Lakshmi, (1991) 3 SCC 451
Modi Entertainment Network v. WSG Cricket PTE Ltd., (2003) 4 SCC 341
Dinesh Singh Thakur v. Sonal Thakur., AIR 2018 SC 2094
Appellant’s submission before the Court is that she would be severely prejudiced in case the divorce proceedings were allowed to continue in Singapore Courts, since the divorce would be granted without the appellant being granted any maintenance, or alimony, as also the custody of the children.
Court on perusal of the submissions, facts and circumstances of the case stated that:
Firstly, regarding the rights of the parties in a matrimonial dispute according to the law of Singapore can hardly be a reason for the Court to grant the injunction, for the simple reason that the parties were domiciled in Singapore and were continuously residing there since 2012.
Secondly, no reason can be seen why the Singapore Courts would treat the appellant unfairly. Pertinently she had moved an application before the Court at Singapore to seek maintenance. Therefore, the Court cannot accept her claim that she would be prejudiced in any manner on account of her being the wife in the matrimonial dispute before a Singapore Court.
Appellant had also moved an application challenging territorial jurisdiction of the Court at Singapore, which application was rejected.
Hence, the High Court held that the Family Court had rightly rejected the application preferred by the appellant under Order 39 Rule 1 and 2 CPC.
Bench reiterated that parties being permanent resident of Singapore, residing there since 2012, should sort out their matrimonial dispute before the local Court in Singapore.
Adding to the above, Court expressed that Courts in India cannot be said to be forums that would be convenient to either of the parties. Enforcement of orders passed by the Courts in India- when the parties; their children, and; their assets/properties are situated in Singapore, would be a practical impossibility.
On finding no merit in the appeal, it was dismissed. [Rakhee Bahl v. Pankaj Bahl, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 766, decided on 03-02-2021]
Advocates for the parties:
For Appellant: Osama Suhail with Surabhi Diwan, Advs.
For Respondent: Shashank Agrawal, Adv.