Can a divorce be filed outside India if marriage takes place in India?

When the decree is granted outside India

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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Forcing Husband to separate from his parents can lead to divorce

Ground For Divorce

In one of the most talked about judgments of 2016, the apex court states that forcing husband to separate from his parents home amounts to cruelty.

Justice Anil R Dave and Justice L. Nageshwara Rao of Supreme Court in the case of Narendra vs. K Meena held that continuous efforts of a wife to separate her husband from his family would result in as a ground for divorce and will be part of an act of cruelty.

The division bench observed: “In normal circumstances, a wife is expected to be with the family of the husband after the marriage. She becomes integral to and forms part of the family of the husband and normally without any justifiable strong reason.

However, it is also pertinent to mention that divorce was granted after

  1. Wife made repeated threats of suicide.
  2. Wife also made wild allegations of extra marital affairs.
  3. Husband’s parents depended on him for their maintenance.

The division bench set aside the judgment of Trial Court and High Court and further quoted the behavior of the wife appears to be terrifying and horrible. One would find it difficult to live with such a person with tranquility and peace of mind. Such torture would adversely affect the life of the husband.”

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