[Portuguese CPC] Bombay HC Directs Cancellation Of Goan Couple's Marriage Registration Based On Foreign Decree
The Bombay High Court at Goa cancelled the marriage registration of a Goan couple relying on a divorce decree passed by the Family Court sitting at the Court and Tribunal Service Centre in England, allowing a petition under Article 1101 of the Portuguese Code of Civil Procedure, 1939.
Even as the couple was divorced by a "Decree Absolute," they continued to be a married couple according to the Office of the Civil Registrar of Ponda-Goa.
The Bombay High Court allowed their application and directed cancellation of their names in the marriage registration book of 2004.
"…it appears to be quite clear that the marriage between the petitioner and the respondent has stood dissolved as per the decree passed by the Family Court sitting at the Court and Tribunal Service Centre in England," Justice GS Kulkarni observed.
The court was dealing with an application under Article 1101 of the Portuguese Code of Civil Procedure, 1939 (for short, "the PCCP") read with Section 13 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, praying for confirmation of the judgment and decree dated 15 December 2021 (Decree Absolute) of the Family Court sitting at the Court and Tribunal Service Centre in England.
The judgement declared that the marriage of the petitioner and the respondent registered on 20 April 2004 with the office of the Civil Registrar, Ponda under be cancelled and for an appropriate endorsement in that regard. Advocate Aniroodh Sardesai appeared for the female petitioner.
The couple were Goans by birth and married to each other on 20 April 2004 under the regime of the communion of assets and their marriage was registered with the office of the Civil Registrar of Ponda. Therefore, they migrated to UK and due to the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage, began living separately from 2 February 2015.
The wife approached the court in England in 2021 wherein the husband filed an affidavit stating that he did not intend to oppose divorce. He also agreed that the Courts of England would have jurisdiction to grant a decree of divorce. He further stated that there would be no other proceedings outside England, which according to him may be identical.
The decree was then notarised in England. The court cited various cases in Renetta Rodrigues Vs. Levino Mariano Fernandes & Another and various other cases that allowed such proceedings.
The court noted that the grounds on which the decree was passed in England are also grounds recognised and acceptable under the laws in India, including under the PCCP. "It also needs to be observed that all other essentials under Article 1101 of PCCP to confirm the judgment of the Family Court sitting at the Court and Tribunal Service Centre in England are present and stand justified. The presumption under Section 41 of the Evidence Act read with Sections 13 and 14 of the CPC is also available to the petitioner."
Accordingly, it directed the names of the petitioner and responded to be deleted from the Marriage register.
Case Title: DELFINA GONSALVES VS FELIX GONSALVES
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 502
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