Harmeeta Singh v. Rajat Taneja

After reading this judgment, you will learn about the conflicting divorce laws applicable to different groups of people in different parts of the world. These different laws are taken as a shield from their respective laws to escape graver sentences
CITATION2003 IIAD Delhi 14
COURTHigh Court of Delhi
JUDGES/CORAMJustice Vikramjit Sen


Marriage is a special bond between Husband and Wife. It is sine qua non for family harmony and security. Being along these lines, governing bodies all around the globe have given certain rights and forced certain commitments on a couple which are essential constituents of any family. In old occasions, marriage was viewed as chosen by the God and holiness was related with it. It is viewed as a hallowed social organization. Marriage, as indicated by the Hindu Law, is a heavenly association for the execution of religious obligations. Marriage is not an agreement however it is a Sanskar or Sacrament. The Sanskar appointed that once a lady is given in marriage, she should safeguard her purity as a lot after as before her better half’s demise.” According to the Mahabharata, wife is not just a wellspring of Dharma, Artha and Kama “yet in addition a wellspring of Moksha”. In Ramayana, wife is said to be the simple soul of her better half.


The facts of the case are as follows: The present case had arisen before the court over three years ago in the dispute between the newly married Anubha who was domiciled in India till her marriage to her husband Vikas, who was gainfully employed and resident in the United States of America.  Shortly after their marriage in India and their departure to United States of America, she was allegedly compelled by the conduct of Vikas to leave the matrimonial home. Lacking necessary financial resources, and other support, she was compelled to return to India. 

She filed an action in the High Court of Delhi, for Maintenance under the Hindu Adoptions & Maintenance Act, 1956, in the course of which some Orders were passed. The next date of proceedings in the United States of America was scheduled for 9.11.1999 and due to the Court vacations it was not possible to pronounce the orders before that date. It was submitted that if hearing takes place in the Courts at Connecticut, U.S.A. these proceedings may be rendered in fructuous.

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The main issue in the case was: Whether or not the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance was applicable to the Plaintiff.

Summary of court decision and judgment

Courts in India would undoubtedly have jurisdiction over the disputes between the present spouses since the marriage was performed in New Delhi. Having financial as well as family support in this country it would be comparatively easy for the Defendant (Husband) to initiate divorce proceedings in this country. The Plaintiff (Wife) would not be in a position to challenge the jurisdiction of Matrimonial Courts in New Delhi. The forum of convenience, which is a concept well recognized and implemented in the United States of America, would thus be New Delhi. The Plaintiff (Wife) has not submitted to the jurisdiction of the Courts in the United States of America. In the context of their residing together as husband and wife, the Plaintiff’s stay in the United States of America could well be viewed as transient, temporary and casual. The court is quite clear that some of these factors can apply to the husband also in regard to New Delhi, but the fact remains that he could quite conveniently prosecute litigation in New Delhi, whereas it is financially impossible for the Plaintiff (Wife) to do so. Having not received the Spouse Visa she may not even be in a position to enter the United States of America. It is in the above  circumstances, till the next date of hearing,  the court restrain the Defendant (Husband) from continuing with the  proceedings in the United States of America  arising out of  File  No. 2-3-06139-1SEA pending in the Superior Court of Washington County of King, Judge / Commissioner Richard D. Eadi / Richard A. Jones.


In the present matter the Plaintiff is undoubtedly residing in India and has neither submitted to the jurisdiction of the American Courts nor is presently represented by counsel before that Court. She is, therefore, not in a position to draw the attention of that Court to the fact that, since the parties have married in India, Indian Court would definitely and indisputably have jurisdiction in deciding matrimonial issues at least under the Hindu Marriage Act. No doubt, it has been contended before me that the Hindu Adoption & Maintenance Act may not be available to the Plaintiff, but a decision on this issue will be given by me later. Whether the Courts in America have jurisdiction or not would undoubtedly be considered by Courts in that Country. Without in any manner desiring to interfere with the judicial proceedings in the United States of America, the question of jurisdiction of Courts in Connecticut, USA, is at least debatable; for the reason that, on undisputed facts, neither of the parties is presently residing in Connecticut, U.S.A., and their joint residence within the territorial jurisdiction was for a significantly short period of two months

Also Read  S.R. Bommai v. Union of India


The subject of Conflict of Laws in Divorce Cases is gaining expanding significance. The vast number of states and remote nations in which a significant number of our incredible business companies, utilizing thousands of operators and representatives, are led requires innumerable quantities of their employees to live far from their homes. Our well off classes is finding an expanding delight in travel and transitory stays in various parts of the nation. It isn’t phenomenal for a well of an individual to have a winter home in one express, a late spring home in another, an amusement save in one more, maybe a living arrangement at a watering put abroad, and lead his business in numerous states and countries. The quick methods for transportation which we appreciate in the Joined States today bear our kin chances to travel to an ever-increasing extent and to dwell on various occasions amid the year in a few distinct states. Changes of habitation from state to state are more incessant with us today than any other time in recent memory before ever of the nation.