23 April 2020

Does Family Court have jurisdiction in respect of dispute where marriage is not solemnized as per law

Love relationship developed between Male petitioner and female respondent belonging to different cast. They without actually performing marriage secured a false certificate from an institution indicating that they have solemnized the marriage. On the basis of such certificate they obtained marriage certificate from Municipal Corporation. After disclosure to their respective families FIR for the offences punishable under Sections 464, 465, 466, 468, 471 read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code as well as for the offence punishable under the Maharashtra Regulations of Marriage Bureau and Registration Act, 1998 came to be registered.
 Applicant-male filed petition in Family Court for seeking declaration that he is unmarried and that the marriage certificate to be null and void. The prayer is not objected by Respondent-female; still Family Court  observed that the jurisdiction of Family Court can be invoked if someone is married as per law and dismissed that petition on the ground ground that it lacks jurisdiction to entertain the petition.


   Conjoint reading of sections 7 and 8 of the Family Courts Act makes it clear that the jurisdictions covered under section 7 of the Act are excluded from the purview of jurisdiction of civil court.

   Under section 7(1) Explanation (b)- a suit or proceeding for declaration as to validity of a marriage or as to matrimonial status of any person is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Family Court. The appellant  has sought a declaration about his matrimonial status that he is unmarried. Thus, the clause (b) of the said Explanation covers his claim. The respondent woman has not disputed these facts. She is not opposing the prayers made before the Family Court at all. In view of this learned Family Court was not justified in dismissing the petition filed by the appellant on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. The impugned judgment and order passed by the learned Family Court therefore will have to be set aside. [Para No.12]

Bombay High Court

Amit Bhagwat Veer
Sonali Subhash Sakharkar

Decided on 21/04/2020

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