Monday, August 30, 2010

Hiding a prior divorce from husband also amounts to cheating: Gujarat high court

Hiding a prior divorce from husband also amounts to cheating: Gujarat high court

The Gujarat high court recently gave two significant judgements in cases lodged by an NRI couple after their divorce. Justice Akil Kureshi of the high court ruled that if a woman conceals her previous marital status (including a marriage that had ended in a divorce), it amounted to cheating. In such a case, the husband can file a police complaint against his wife, the court said.

The judge also held that a woman can file a criminal complaint against her husband if he does not return her belongings after their marriage had ended in a divorce in a foreign country.

According to the case details, Mitesh and Tanya, who are currently citizens of the US, originally hail from Kheda district. They had got married with the consent of their respective families but their marriage soon ran into trouble and they divorced in the US in 2007. But the bad blood between the two did not end there.

Tanya filed a complaint in Nadiad under the dowry act among others, alleging that Mitesh had not returned her belongings which amounted to Rs20-Rs 25 lakh. These were given to her by her father at the time of the marriage but they were still with Mitesh's family, Tanya claimed. She demanded that Mitesh and his family return her belongings as she had divorced Mitesh in the US.

Mitesh had also filed a complaint at the same police station alleging that Tanya had cheated him as she had not disclosed the fact that prior to their marriage she was married to another boy and had divorced him too.

In his judgement, Justice Kureshi gave the green signal for filing of a police complaint against Tanya for not disclosing to Mitesh the details of her previous marriage and divorce. But the court turned down Mitesh's plea that Tanya's police complaint against him and his family for not returning her belongings be quashed.

The court also refused to entertain Tanya's argument that even if Mitesh's allegation was accepted as true, it did not constitute an offence as her previous marriage had been annulled by the competent court in the US.

On the other hand, Mitesh in his complaint had argued that Tanya had concealed details of her previous marriage even in the marriage form. This amounted to cheating and forgery, he said.

"Tanya had made a false declaration saying that she was unmarried, after which he had agreed to marry her," Mitesh declared in his complaint.

In her complaint demanding the return of her belongings, Tanya stated Mitesh and his family had not returned what belonged to her. As per the terms of their divorce settlement, the two parties were supposed to return each other's property, she stated, adding that Mitesh was now saying that he and his family did not have any of Tanya's belongings.

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