Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Ravi Ranjan and Madhuresh Prasad, JJ. while hearing a criminal writ petition filed by husband seeking habeas corpus for his wife, ruled that the writ could not be issued if the wife did not want to go back to her matrimonial home.

In the instant case, the petitioner-husband filed a writ seeking habeas corpus for his wife who had left him. On the date of hearing, the petitioner’s wife entered an appearance before the court along with her parents and submitted that the petitioner had assaulted due to which she had left her matrimonial home. She further submitted that she did not wish to go back to her matrimonial house along with the petitioner.

The Court noted the submissions of petitioner’s wife and held that since petitioner’s wife had already been produced before the Court, a writ of habeas corpus could not be issued to the petitioner. On that holding, the writ petition was dismissed.[Virat Arya v. State of Bihar,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 1987, decided on 01-11-2018] 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, J. dismissed a petition impugning the order of Family Court whereby the petitioner and his wife were directed to appear in person before the Court.

The petitioner and his wife were residents of USA. They applied for a decree of divorce under Section 13-B(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 through their respective attorneys. The Family Court accepted the petition and allowed the first motion after interacting with the parties through video conferencing via Skype. The Family Court, in the order impugned, had observed that the parties were stated to be residing separately for 10 years, but were noticed to be living under the same roof. Furthermore, the wife did not seem very comfortable with the proceedings. The Family Court, thus directed the parties to be present in person for the second motion under 13-B(2), so that the Court could record satisfaction of their respective statements having been made independently and without undue influence. Aggrieved thereby, the husband filed the instant petition.

The High Court perused the record and considered submissions made by the parties. It was noted that the relation between the parties and their respective power of attorneys was nowhere mentioned. Also, it was not a case where the parties could not make themselves present before the court. In fact, the petitioner was in Delhi at the time of filing of the petition. The Court observed that the consistent view of High Courts is that the statements through the h power of attorneys are permissible, but at the same time the Court should take necessary precautions and if it smells fraud being practiced, insist om personal appearance of the parties. Merely because the law permits the parties to act through attorney, even in matter of seeking dissolution of marriage, does not bind the Court to, even where it feels that personal presence of the parties is necessary and gives reasons, s therefore, act mechanically on the basis of petitions filed by attorneys and dissolve marriage after interacting with the attorneys of the parties only. The Court, in the facts of the case, held that the order impugned passed by the Family Court did not suffer from any infirmity and require no interference. The petition was, thus, dismissed. [Raja Banerji v. Alka Banerji,2018 SCC OnLine Del 11397, decided on 11-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of A.S. Bopanna, J., decided a set of writ petitions filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, wherein the petitioner husband; residing abroad, was granted permission to appear in the Court through Skype.

The matter related to a marriage dispute between the petitioner-husband and the respondent-wife. The matter was initially filed before the Family Court by the wife against the husband. The petitioner-husband in the instant petition prayed to quash the order of the Family Court whereby the petitioner was directed to appear in person before the Court in Bangalore. The petitioner submitted that he was residing in the USA and had difficulties in traveling to India and appearing before the Family Court. During the pendency of instant petition, a compromise petition was filed by both the parties before the Court whereby they had agreed to dissolve the marriage. The said petition was signed by father of the petitioner-husband as his power of attorney. Hence for reaching finality in the matter, petitioner’s appearance before the Court was necessary to ascertain that the joint petition was filed with his concurrence.

The High Court referred to an earlier decided writ petition, wherein a detailed consideration regarding leave to be granted to appear through Skype had already been adverted to. The Court observed that in appropriate circumstances where both the parties agreed on a compromise and when it is only for the purpose of satisfaction of the Family Court that the compromise has been entered, it is permissible that such appearance through Skype would be sufficient. The Court found that in the instant case, the respondent-wife had no objection to such prayer and hence considering that the petitioner-husband was in the USA, the Court thought it fit to grant permission to appear through Skype. Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the impugned order of the Family Court directing the petitioner to appear in person was set aside. [Rahul Chandra Kone v. Jahanvi, WP Nos. 24580 of 2015, order dated 30.01.2018]