When it comes to matrimonial matters, the Indian Diaspora across the globe often gets fuddled up in conflict of Family laws. And especially when it comes to divorce, things are assumed to get all the more hay wired.

However little is it known that the position with respect to the matter pertinent is very much clear.

Indeed, the divorce petition can be filed as well as settled outside India even if the marriage has taken place in India.

As a general rule under Section 13 of the CPC, any foreign judgement is valid and conclusive in India if it does not falls under certain exceptions.

The Apex Court of India lay down and clarified the law for foreign matrimonial judgements in the country in the case of Y. Narsimha Rao and ors. vs. Y. Venkata Laxmi and anr.

Brief Facts of the case

  • Y. Narsimha Rao and Y. Venkata Laxmi were married in Tirupati, India as per Hindu Customs in 1975.
  • They separated in July 1978 and Mr. Rao filed a petition for dissolution of marriage in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County Missouri, USA.
  • The Circuit Court passed the decree for dissolution of marriage on February 19, 1980
  • On 2 November 1981 Mr. Rao married another woman.
  • Mrs. Laxmi filed a criminal complaint against Mr. Rao for the offence of bigamy.

Judgement under Section 13 of the CPC


Although the Court did not recognize the decree passed by the US court but it did lay down the clear law with respect to divorce decree in such matters. The Court carved out the exceptions as to in which conditions the divorce decree would NOT be recognized in India.

Such exceptions are as follows:-

  • When the decree is granted by court which is not authorized by Indian courts to grant the same
  • When one side is not heard or his/her submission is not taken on record
  • When the divorce is granted on the ground which is not recognized under Indian matrimonial laws
  • When the proceedings are against principles of natural justice
  • When the decree is obtained by fraud

Thus if the divorce matter does not falls within the ambit of any of the exceptions mentioned here in above then it can be proceeded unhindered in any foreign court even if the marriage takes place in India.

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