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Court allows transfer of a sitting MLA’s matrimonial case from Goa to Mumbai

Observing that law of the land would prevail over personal or special laws, the Bombay High Court today allowed transfer of a matrimonial petition from a Goa court to a family court at Bandra here.

Justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi was hearing a petition filed by a 41-year-old woman, seeking transfer of a petition filed against her by her estranged husband, a sitting MLA from Goa, in the Mapusa Civil Court in the coastal state.

According to the woman’s plea, the couple got married in Goa in 2006. Earlier this year, she left her husband’s house and filed three complaints with Goa Police alleging threat to her life and the safety of her 10-year-old daughter.

In April, the woman shifted to Mumbai with her daughter.

The husband filed a petition against his wife in Mapusa court in Goa, seeking the daughter’s custody.

The woman claimed in her petition in the high court that her husband was a wealthy businessman and a politically influential person, so she feared for her life and apprehended that her daughter would be kidnapped if she went to Goa for the court proceedings.

The husband argued that they were married under the Law of Marriage embodied in the Portuguese Civil Code, 1867, so only the Court of Civil Judge, Senior Division at Mapusa can hear the matrimonial petition.

Justice Joshi today noted that both the Mapusa court and the family court in Bandra here are subordinate to the Bombay high court.

“The customary law of the land would prevail over the personal law of the parties (while deciding the place of hearing),” the order said, citing a Supreme Court judgement.

The special civil law can be applied to the case even when the case is heard in Mumbai, the judge added.

“The woman and her daughter would face difficulty and inconvenience and also (have) the apprehension of their physical safety, if they are made to travel to Mapusa,” the judge noted, ordering transfer of the case to the Bandra court.

Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief

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