The Bombay High Court has rejected the plea of a Parsi man to declare his 15-year-old marriage to a Hindu as null and void as their wedlock was arranged in accordance with Hindu rituals though they professed different religions.
A division bench recently dismissed an appeal filed by Viraf Phiroz Bharucha, a city resident, against a family court order rejecting his plea to grant divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, saying that there was no merit in the case and that the plea was barred by law.
“The appellant has admitted that he got married to the respondent in 1999. The petition was filed before the Family Court in 2011. There was a delay of 12 years (now 15 years) and a baby boy was born to the couple in 2001. No reason is pointed out to show what compelled the appellant to suddenly realise that he belonged to a different religion and hence the marriage should be declared a nullity,” the judges said.
“This shows that the appellant is taking advantage of his own wrong,” the bench remarked.
Upholding the impugned family court order, Justices A R Joshi and Vijaya Tahilramani held that the appellant had taken too long to realise that his marriage to the respondent be declared null and void as they belonged to different religions.
The bench said the appellant had come up with a very strange case. According to him, he is a ‘Parsi’ by birth and continues to profess his faith in the same religion. However, petition was filed by him before the Family Court under the Hindu Marriage Act.
The Bench held that the provisions of Hindu Marriage Act can be availed and are applicable when both spouses are Hindus and it does not apply to any person who is a Parsi, Jew, Christian or Muslim. “The appellant is a Parsi, so he cannot avail of the provisions of this Act,” the Judges ruled.
“It is also necessary under the Act that at the time of filing of petition, both the spouses are Hindu by religion. If one of the party to such marriage is not a Hindu, the provisions of Hindu Marriage Act cannot be invoked to seek remedy,” the bench held.