Madras HC said the family court in India had jurisdiction to try matrimonial litigation even if the husband is a citizen of a foreign country and not an ordinary resident of India.
"The fact that the husband is residing outside the territory does not prevent the wife from applying before the local designated court to redress her grievances," said a division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice KK Sasidharan.
The bench also stated that the amended Section 19 of the Hindu Marriages Act extended to outside India.
The bench was dealing with a case involving film actor R Sukanya and her husband R Sridharan, who is an American citizen.
The duo got married in Apr 2002 as per Hindu rites and customs at Balaji temple in New Jersey in the US. After nearly a year she returned to India, started to act in films, and also filed a divorce petition in 2004.
As her husband did not attend the proceedings, the family court granted her divorce ex parte.
The husband filed a petition to HC to resist the hearing in his absence.
But dismissing his claimed, the court passed the order that the wife is now entitled to file a matrimonial petition before a district court in whose territorial jurisdiction she is residing.
"When the marriage was solemnized under the Hindu law, the proceedings for divorce has also to be made under the said Act."
"He cannot take any exception to the proceedings in India under provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act merely on account of his US citizenship or domicile," said the Judges to Times of India.