The children of a couple can also question the validity of the marriage of their parents by approaching a Family Court, ruled the Bombay High Court on Thursday. The HC accordingly quashed a Family Court orders dismissing the plea filed by a daughter questioning the marriage of her father and her step-mother.
A bench of Justices Ramesh Dhanuka and Virendra Bisht was seized with a plea filed by a woman seeking a declaration that her father's marriage with her step-mother as illegal.
The daughter, a resident of Sion had dragged her step-mother, a resident of Worli to the court seeking several reliefs, including quashing of the documents by virtue of which the step mom allegedly usurped her deceased father's properties.
According to the daughter, her step-mother, a Dawoodi Muslim misled her deceased father stating that she was a divorcee. "However, she was not a divorcee as there was no legal document pronouncing her judicial separation from her first husband," the daughter argued through senior counsel Vineet Naik.
The daughter claimed that her step-mother coerced her father and got transferred major properties in her name and even took away the "streedhan" (bride's jewelry) of her mother.
Before the Family Court in Bandra, the step-mother argued that the daughter isn't a party to the marriage and thus she has no locus standi in the case. She argued that the Family Court laws allow only the spouses to seek such reliefs of declaring a marriage illegal.
Accordingly, the Family Court had dismissed the daughter's plea.
However, the bench led by Justice Dhanuka concluded that the Family Court erred in interpreting the Family Court laws.
The judges, while interpreting the relevant laws stated that one of the provisions does not say that such proceeding should be between the parties to the marriage.
"To note that this provision is widely couched to encompass in its ambit
and include the proceeding of the nature referred to regarding
declaration of the validity of the marriage or it could be for a declaration of the matrimonial status of any person, would be a but fair comment," the bench said.
"Not only the spouses are entitled
to file the petition challenging the validity of the marriage but the
interested persons and beneficiaries related to the spouses may also challenge it," the judges held.
The bench, while quashin the family court's, remitted the matter back to the concerned judge with a directive to reconsider the entire issue again.