Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

S.O. 3675(E).—In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (n) of Article 371F of the Constitution, the President hereby extends the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (43 of 1954) (hereinafter referred to as the said Act), to the State of Sikkim, subject to the following modifications, namely:-

(1) any reference in the said Act to a law not in force, or to a functionary not in existence, in the State of Sikkim shall be construed as a reference to the corresponding law in force, or to the corresponding functionary in existence, in that State:

Provided that if any question arises as to who such corresponding functionary is, or if there is no such corresponding functionary, the Central Government shall decide as to who shall be such functionary and the decision of the Central Government in that regard shall be final.

(2) The provisions of the said Act shall come into force in the State of Sikkim on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint:

Provided that different dates may be appointed for different provisions of the said Act and for different area in the State of Sikkim and any reference in any such provision to the commencement of the said Act shall be construed as a reference to the coming into force of that provision in the area where it has been brought into force.

Ministry of Home Affairs

[Notification dt. 09-10-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Sanjeev Sachdeva, J. dismissed a revision petition filed by the petitioner-husband against the order of the Appellate Court whereby his appeal challenging the order of interim maintenance passed by the trial court was dismissed.

The petitioner — a Muslim, and the respondent — a Christian, were married under Special Marriage Act. The petitioner had two daughters from his previous marriage. Two more daughters were born to the parties from their marriage to each other. However, subsequently, the respondent-wife alleged domestic violence and filed a petition under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. In the petition filed by her under Section 23, the trial court awarded interim maintenance of Rs 60,000 per month to be payable by the petitioner. Claiming that he was a pauper, the petitioner appealed to the Appellate Court but his appeal was dismissed. Aggrieved thereby, the petitioner filed the present petition.

The petitioner, who was represented by Adab Singh Kapoor and Shefali Menezes, Advocates submitted that the respondent had taken over his business and he had no means to pay the amount of maintenance awarded. Per contra, the respondent, who was represented by Mrinal Madhav, Tarunesh Kumar and Kaushikesh Kumar, Advocates, supported the impugned order.

The High Court noted that that three of the minor daughters, who were dependent on the petitioner and respondent, were being taken care of solely by the respondent. The petitioner was running a business of travel agency and bank account showed that he was earning a substantial sum of money. It was observed by the Court: “Mere fact that the respondent wife is earning does not absolve the petitioner of his responsibility to maintain his three minor daughters.” It was further said:

“A child for her upbringing does not only require money. A lot of time and effort goes in upbringing of a child. It would be incorrect to hold that both the parents are equally responsible for the expenses of the child. A mother who has custody of a child not only spends money on the upbringing of the child but also spent substantial time and effort in bringing up the child. One cannot put value to the time and effort put in by the mother in upbringing of the child. No doubt, mother, if she is earning, should also contribute towards the expenses of the child but the expenses cannot be divided equally between the two.”

It was found by the Court that expenditure incurred by the respondent on the three minor daughters was far more in excess of Rs 60,000 per month. In such circumstances, and further relying on Bhuwan Mohan Singh v. Meena, (2015) 6 SCC 353, the Court held that the award made by the trial court was justified. The revision petition was, therefore, dismissed. [Farooq Ahmed Shala v. Marie Chanel Gillier, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 8972, decided on 01-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: Alexander Thomas, J. allowed a writ petition for quashing the criminal proceedings against rape accused who later on married the victim.

In the instant case, the petitioner (‘accused’ before the trial court) was alleged to have committed offences punishable under Section 366A, 376 of the Penal Code, 1860 and Section 3(a) read with Section 4 of the POCSO Act, 2012.

The counsels for the petitioner, C.S. Manu and S.K. Premraj, contended before the High Court that the petitioner had settled the disputes amicably with the respondent (‘victim’ before the trial court) by solemnizing marriage with her as per the provisions of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 and they had a daughter aged four months out of the wedlock. The petitioner also produced a Marriage Certificate issued by the statutory Marriage Officer.

Anoop Joseph, counsel appearing for the respondent also pointed out that, since the respondent had already married the petitioner, it would be in her interest that the impugned criminal proceedings be quashed; otherwise her marital life would be put into jeopardy, and there would be no one to take care of her as well as her young child hardly aged 4 months.

The Court observed that, though the grave and serious offences as the one under Section 376 of the Penal Code could not be the subject matter for quashing on the ground of settlement between the accused and the victim; but relying on its judgment in Freddy @ Antony Francis v. State of Kerala, 2018 (1) KLD 558, it held that “the exception to the above approach could be in cases where the accused has married the defacto complainant and they have decided to settle all the disputes and for the predominant purpose of the welfare of the de-facto complainant/ victim, to ensure her better future life, it is only just and proper that this Court in exercise of the extra ordinary inherent powers under Section 482 of the CrPC could quash the impugned criminal proceedings on the ground of settlement between the parties in cases where the accused has married the defacto complainant and the de-facto complainant is insisting for quashing of the impugned criminal proceedings, etc.”

In the light of the above, more particularly in the light of the submission made by the respondent, the Court allowed the plea for quashing of impugned criminal proceedings.[Ashiq N.A. v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 1731, decided on 23-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: The Bench of Vibhu Bhakru, J.allowed petition filed by foreign citizens and directed the Registrar of Marriage to issue Certificate of Marriage to them.

Petitioners, in this case, were working in the British High Commission, New Delhi. One of them was a Canadian citizen while other was a British citizen. They got married in terms of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 and filed an application for registration of marriage. However, the Certificate of Marriage could not be issued as the software used by the Registrar’s Office did not accept data regarding the marriage of two foreign citizens; at least one party (either husband or wife) had to be an Indian citizen. Thus present petition was filed through Jai Bansal, Advocate.

The High Court noted that marriage of two foreign citizens can be registered under the Special Marriage Act. Also, the factum of the marriage of petitioners was not disputed. It was also noted that the petitioners had complied with the provisions of the Act in making a declaration in terms of Proviso to Section 12(2). In such view of the matter, it was held that the Registrar was required to issue a certificate in terms of Section 13 in the form as set out in the Fourth Schedule of the Act. Thus the present petition was allowed by directing the petitioners to appear before the Registrar on 29-01-2019. The Registrar was directed to issue the certificate and to take necessary steps for upgrading and modifying the software for registration of marriages and issuing of certificates. [Bhumika Mohan Jaisinghania v. Registrar of Marriage, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6538, Order dated 14-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: An important question of law relating to the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (hereinafter ‘Act’) has arisen before a Single Judge Bench comprising of JR Midha, J, for adjudication. The issue is whether the parties married under the Act can be permitted to challenge the jurisdiction of the Family Court to entertain and try a petition for dissolution of marriage under the Act.

The facts leading up to the petition were as follows. The petitioner and respondent were married under the Act on 20.08.1998. The respondent filed for divorce under Section 27(1)(a), (b) and (d) of the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The certificate of marriage was filed by the respondent along with the petition. The petitioner made conflicting statements via written statements corresponding to the fact whether the marriage was solemnized under the Act or some other personal law.

Reiterating the principles of the act, the Court observed that the Act provides a special form of marriage, registration and divorce. The Act being secular and separate from religious law, liberates individuals from traditional communal constraints of marriage. The Court further observed that under the Act, registration of marriage is compulsory and that the registration certificate of the marriage is conclusive evidence of solemnization of marriage under the Act. Therefore, the contention that the marriage in question was not solemnized under the Act cannot be said to be tenable. Therefore, finding that the Family Court has clear jurisdiction to entertain and try the respondent’s petition, dismissed the petition with costs along with an order to expedite the divorce proceedings and to ideally decide the same within one year. [M v. A,  2018 SCC OnLine Del 8005, decided on 23.03.2018]