Bombay High Court Directs Registrar To Cancel Goan’s Couple’s Marriage While Relying Upon Foreign Decree
The Bombay High Court, Goa while dealing with an application under Article 1101 of the Portuguese Code of Civil Procedure, 1939 (PCCP) read with Section 13 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 has directed the Registrar to cancel the Goan couple’s marriage while relying upon a foreign decree.
A Single Bench of Justice G.S. Kulkarni ordered –
“The application is accordingly allowed in terms of prayer clauses (A) and (B), which read thus:
A. That this Hon’ble Court be pleased to confirm the Decree Absolute dated 15/12/2021 and declare the marriage of the Petitioner and the Respondent registered in the Office of the Civil Registrar of Ponda-Goa under entry no: 478/2004 of the Marriage Registration book for the year 2004 and which was solemnized on 20/04/2004 at Church of St. Anthony Panchwadi to be cancelled.
B. That this Hon’ble Court be pleased to direct the Office of the Civil Registrar of Ponda-Goa to make appropriate endorsement to the same effect in accordance to the prayer clause A and cancel the registration of marriage between the Petitioner and the Respondent under entry no: 478/2004 of the Marriage Registration book for the year 2004 and which was solemnized on 20/04/2004 at Church of St. Anthony Panchwadi.”
Advocate Aniroodh Sardesai appeared on behalf of the petitioner.
In this case, the application was filed praying for confirmation of the judgment and decree of the Family Court sitting at the Court and Tribunal Service Centre in England. Such a foreign judgment confirms and declares that the marriage of the petitioner and the respondent registered with the office of the Civil Registrar, Ponda be cancelled and for an appropriate endorsement in that regard. The petitioner and the respondent are Goans by birth and originally hail from the South Goa District. They were married to each other in the year 2004 under the regime of the communion of assets. After their marriage, they migrated to the U.K.
The petitioner contended that the marriage had broken down irretrievably, consequently, the petitioner and the respondent were staying separately since 2015. In these circumstances, the petitioner approached the Family Court of England in proceedings praying for a divorce. The respondent appeared in the said proceedings and filed a reply inter alia stating that the respondent will let the divorce proceed as he does not intend to defend. He also agreed that the Courts of England would have jurisdiction to grant a decree of divorce. He also stated that there would be no other proceedings outside England, which according to him may be identical. The Family Court accordingly proceeded to adjudicate the said petition filed by the petitioner, and by a final order (Decree Absolute) confirmed the Decree Nisi.
The High Court noted, “It appears that the respondent is not interested to appear and contest the present proceedings. This appears to be also for the reason that the respondent had no objection before the Family Court sitting at the Court and Tribunal Service Centre in England, to proceed in granting a decree of divorce, to be passed against him. It also appears from the record that there was consensus between the parties that the marriage had broken down irretrievably. Also the parties were staying separately for almost five years i.e. from 2 February 2015 before the proceedings were instituted before the Family Court in England.”
The Court further noted that the marriage between the petitioner and the respondent has stood dissolved as per the decree passed by the Family Court.
The Court also opined, “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.”
The Court, therefore, said that the decree passed by the Family Court would be required to be declared to be final and conclusive and that the petitioner has become entitled to the reliefs as prayed for in the application.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the application.
Cause Title- Delfina Gonsalves v. Felix Gonsalves