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Court Dismisses Indian Man’s Divorce Plea on ‘Desertion’ Grounds Against NRI Wife

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed a divorce plea of a husband who had filed for dissolution of his marriage on grounds of “desertion,” saying his Non-Resident Indian wife returned to the United Kingdom soon after their marriage, the Times of India reported. He had appealed to the high court after a family court in Jalandhar rejected the divorce plea.

As his wife is a British citizen, the high court observed that “such assertion seems highly improbable as a girl born and brought up in UK is unlikely to accept and agree to live in rural areas of India unless there is some special attraction or reason justifying such a decision.”

The court found that the wife was very willing to take her husband to the United Kingdom with her, and even sent travel documents to him. She also wired him money from abroad. A resident of Jalandhar, the man told the court that he had made it clear before the marriage that she had to live in India. He further said that he wanted divorce as she had deserted him a month after their marriage. Their marriage took place on Oct. 31, 2012, and she left for the United Kingdom on Nov.27, 2012.

The high court, while noting that she was much older than the appellant, said that the husband had contracted marriage with an understanding that he would live in Britain. “The stand of the husband that there was an understanding that his wife would stay in the village after marriage and that despite the said understanding she had chosen to return to UK does not sound probable at all in view of the aforesaid factual position,” the court said in its orders.

Justice MMS Bedi and Justice GS Gill, who comprised the division bench, backed the decision of the Jalandhar family court in August 2016 in rejecting the appellant’s plea. “It rather transpires that it is the husband who has changed his decision to go abroad after having stayed with his wife for around a month. Husband’s conduct does not show that he had ever taken any step to bring her back or had filed any petition for restitution of conjugal rights,” the court observed.

The bench said the marriage was solemnized and the wife, who is born and bred in England, had taken steps to do the needful for taking the appellant abroad. “It was husband who had chosen to keep away from his wife,” the court reiterated.