The Bombay High Court on Thursday granted relief to the wife of a sitting MLA from Aldona constituency in Goa by allowing her application for transfer of matrimonial petition filed by her husband before a civil court in Mapusa, North Goa, to the Family Court in Bandra, Mumbai.
Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi was hearing the application filed under Section 24 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Marriage between the two parties was registered at Civil Registration Office, Bardez, Goa, on July 14, 2006. Thereafter, they got married at a church in Goa in December 2006. It was a love marriage and the couple has a 10-year-old daughter.
The applicant wife alleged that she had to ‘flee the house of the respondent at Goa, as she faced the serious threats to her safety and the safety of her daughter.’
It was the case of the applicant that she had made three complaints against the respondent to the local police station but to no avail, as the respondent is an influential person there. The applicant alleged that her husband has also threatened to kidnap Applicant No.2 (daughter), therefore she has come to Mumbai and resides along with her daughter in an apartment at Bandra.
The application states that once the applicant’s husband found out that she is trying to get their daughter admitted to a school in Mumbai, he filed a matrimonial petition against her in the Court of Civil Judge, Senior Division at Mapusa, Goa, in which he has also obtained the order of temporary injunction restraining her from taking admission of their daughter in any school in Mumbai.
Submissions and Judgment
Appearing on behalf of the respondent husband, Ashwin Bhose submitted that the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court has jurisdiction over the proceedings before a civil judge in Goa. He further submitted that his client is of Goan origin and as his marriage with the applicant wife had been registered under the provisions of the Law of Marriage embodied in the Portuguese Civil Code 1867, only the Court of the Civil Judge, Senior Division at Mapusa, Goa, has the jurisdiction to try and determine the matrimonial petition.
On the other hand, applicant’s counsel Samarth Moray submitted that the argument of exclusive jurisdiction of the bench at Goa over the said case was not tenable in light of Section 3 and 4 of the High Court at Bombay (Extension of Jurisdiction to Goa, Daman and Diu) Act, 1981.
Moray cited the decision of a full bench of the Bombay High Court in Edward Evan Pereira and Anr. vs. Goncalo Jose Agnelo and Anr in support of his contention.
After examining all the submissions and material on record, Justice Joshi observed: “This brings me to the merits of the Application. Applicant No.1 is admittedly a lady. Applicant No.2 is the minor daughter of 10 years age of Applicant No.1 and Respondent. Even if, one need not go into the merits of the allegations and counter allegations between the spouses, the fact remains that the Applicant No.1 has filed three complaints with police against Respondent expressing apprehension of serious threat to her safety and the safety to her daughter. Since May 2018 she is therefore staying along with her daughter at their studio apartment in Bandra. It is needless to state that, the Applicant Nos.1 and 2 will therefore both face difficulty and inconvenience and also the apprehension to their physical safety, if they are made to travel to Mapusa, Goa on each and every date when the proceeding in the Court at Mapusa are to take place.”
Hence, in order to avoid the inconvenience to the applicant wife and her minor daughter, which is recognized as a ground for transfer of proceeding from one court to another under Section 24 of the CPC in view of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Sumita Singh vs. Kumar Sanjay, Justice Joshi noted: “It becomes essential to allow this Application, so that both the Applicants can effectively contest the said proceedings and fight out the matter on merits.”
Read the Judgment Here