Dubai: Bahrain’s High Administrative Court has invoked the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 of India to grant divorce to an Indian Hindu couple, as per rule number 21 of Bahraini law, local media reported.
According to the court, the husband was demanding a divorce from his wife for deserting him for the last ten years, which prompted the court to invoke the Hindu law as per rule number 21 of Bahrain’s pleading law for disputes by non-Muslim complainants.
This law allows resolving personal status disputes by invoking the country’s law according to which the couple had registered their marriage. Case files suggest the couple’ married life began a downward spiral after they spent 12 years together from 1997 to 2009.
Irreconcilable differences led them to live separately after that. The husband claimed before the court that his wife had abandoned him and produced two witnesses to prove his claims. The witnesses told the court that the woman lived separately from the man for the last 10 years. The court, accepting the man’s argument and witness testimonies, annulled the marriage.
What does the Hindu Marriage Act say on divorce?
Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 deals with divorce. It sets the conditions through which a court can annul a marriage accepting a petition from either the husband or the wife.
The act allows a divorce when one of the parties had voluntary intercourse with any other person other than their spouses, treated the petitioner with cruelty, or deserted the petitioner continuously for not less than two years immediately preceding the petition, among others.
It is, however, not the first time that a court of law in the Kingdom has invoked the Hindu Marriage Act in divorce petition cases. In a similar case last year, Bahrain’s major civil court had used the law in a divorce petition filed by a husband, who claimed that his wife had deserted him for the last two years.
The court, however, turned down his plea, saying that he had failed to provide a witness or any other proof to back his claims. The court also ordered the man to pay the litigation fees.
The latest statistics put Bahrain’s population at 1.54 million, of which 52.6 per cent are foreigners. Around 74 per cent are Muslims. Christians, the second-largest religious group, forms 10.2 per cent and Jews 0.21 per cent of the total population. The percentage of local Bahraini Christians, Jews, Hindus and Baha’is is collectively 0.2 per cent.