The Allahabad High Court in its order dated February 04, 2022 has observed that, if a wife is not having anyone to accompany her across a long distance, it can be a relevant consideration in ordering the transfer of a matrimonial case.
The Bench of Justice J. J. Munir observed thus while allowing a transfer application filed by a wife seeking transfer of a matrimonial case (filed by the husband) from the court of Principal Judge, Family Court, Gautam Budh Nagar to the court of Principal Judge, Family Court, Allahabad.
The couple got married in June 2019 and in the same year the husband instituted a petition in the Family Court, Gautam Budh Nagar, under Section 12(1)(b) and (c) read with Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
He sought a decree for annulment on the ground that his wife (applicant) was of unsound mind, a condition that her family knew but misrepresented, practicing fraud and deception to induce the opposite party into marrying the Applicant.
Defense by Wife
On the other hand, the wife alleged that her husband and his family members made a dowry demand and tortured her in order to extract more dowry. She also instituted two cases in Prayagraj, one under:
- Section 125 Cr.P.C.
- Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
The wife pleaded that she stays at Prayagraj after her estrangement, and the further ground is that she is a woman and unemployed, and thus she cannot travel by herself from Allahabad to Gautam Budh Nagar on each date fixed in the petition there.
The wife has thus moved the instant transfer plea on the grounds that two cases are already pending inter parties before the Courts at Allahabad, and therefore, it would be convenient if the husband’s petition for annulment of marriage is also transferred from Gautam Budh Nagar to the Family Court at Allahabad.
Allahabad High Court
Taking into consideration various Apex Court rulings in the cases of Manjula Singh Chouhan vs. Vishal Singh Chouhan, 2019 (13) SCC 660, Bhartiben Ravibhai Rav vs. Ravibhai Govindbhai Rav, 2017 (6) SCC 785, G.R. Bhuvaneshwari vs. G.S. Puttaraju, 2018 (13) SCC 650 and others, the Allahabad High Court opined:
Convenience of the wife is to be accorded preference in the matter of venue of proceeding in matrimonial cases.
Allowing the transfer plea, the court said,
The relevant factor about the wife not having anyone to accompany her across a long distance, is also a relevant consideration in ordering transfer. Here, the distance is about 700 Kms. between Gautam Budh Nagar and Prayagraj.
Two cases are already pending at Prayagraj and the wife has no one in her family to act as her escort on every date that is scheduled before the Court at Gautam Budh Nagar. The wife, though well qualified, has not been shown to be possessed of any gainful occupation in her profession for the time being.
The handicap that arises from lack of resources, cannot be always arithmetically calculated in terms of money spent on travel, lodging and board. Lack of financial resources bring many other kinds of handicaps, that cannot always be liquidated through taxable recompense.
Husband Argues For Video Conferencing
When the husband requested that the cases can be heard via video conferencing, the Court clarified that this suggestion may not accord with the law as the Apex Court, as observed in the case of Santhini vs. Vijaya Venketesh, 2018 (1) SCC 1 which stated:
In a transfer petition, no direction can be issued for videoconferencing.
Following the above remarks, the Allahabad High Court allowed transfer of the Case under Section 12 (1)(b) and (c) read with Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 from the Principal Judge, Family Court, Gautam Budh Nagar to the learned Principal Judge, Family Court, Allahabad.
CASE: Shakshi Agrawal Vs Ashutosh Agrawal
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