Can a stranger other than a husband and wife challenge the marriage? The Supreme Court has decided to examine this legal question raised in a case. There are judicial precedents that only the spouse can challenge a marriage under the Family Court Act.
Notice to 'daughter' on stepmother's plea
However, in this case, the top court has decided to examine whether third parties have the right to challenge or not. The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the daughter on the stepmother's petition in the matter. The next hearing will be on August 13.
In fact, a bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and V Ramasubramaniam was faced with a case in which the daughter of a deceased man had sought to annul the second marriage of the father with a woman. The daughter claims that her stepmother was not divorced and that she was married when she married her father in 2003, making her father's second marriage void from the beginning.
The matter reached the Supreme Court from the Bombay High Court. The High Court allowed the daughter to proceed with her petition before a family court. Their Father was Hindu and owned a group of companies. He died in the year 2015.
A year later, his 66-year-old daughter filed a petition before a family court in Mumbai, requesting that her father's marriage in 2003 be declared void and void as the one whom the father had married. He is already married and was not divorced.
Detected by Right to Information
The daughter had claimed that she had received certain documents through the Right to Information (RTI) Act which showed that her stepmother, who hails from the Dawoodi Bohra community, was not legally divorced from her previous husband. In July 2019, the family court refused to entertain the daughter's plea, as the stepmother had cited certain judgments that the petitioner was a stranger to their marriage, and therefore legally questioned the validity of the marriage. Can't lift
The Family Court had also held that since the daughter had not asked for the annulment of the marriage in any of her previous cases, whether in a civil court or in the Bombay High Court. Therefore, he cannot be allowed to file his petition now.
The order of the family court was challenged in the High Court
The daughter challenged this order in the High Court. In May last year, the High Court overturned the order of the Family Court. The High Court in its order had said that in such a situation a child cannot be called a stranger. That too when his father has passed away and he has claimed that he has found evidence to prove his father's second marriage invalid.
The High Court had said that the daughter can fight a case under the Family Court Act regarding the legality of her father's marriage and the status of her stepmother's marriage. Also, the High Court had ordered the Family Court to dispose of the petition by the daughter challenging the validity of her father's second marriage within six months.
Stepmother reached the Supreme Court against the order of the High Court
The order of the High Court has now been challenged by the stepmother in the Supreme Court through advocate Gaurav Agarwal. The petition has referred to the 2018 judgment of the Gauhati High Court, which held that only the parties to the marriage can initiate proceedings before the family court with regard to their marriage and other related issues such as custody and maintenance of children. Huh.
The judgment was written by Justice AS Bopanna, who was then the Chief Justice of the High Court and is now a judge of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has issued notice to the daughter after hearing the arguments of senior advocate Huzaifa Ahmadi, appearing for the stepmother.