Video Conferencing in Matrimonial Disputes

The Court ‘needed to consider’ whether a general order could be passed to the effect that in a case where a husband files matrimonial proceedings at place where the wife does not reside, the Court concerned should entertain such petition only on the condition that the husband makes appropriate deposit to bear the expenses of the wife as may be determined by the Court.

[For Interest] Amicus Curiae, Senior Advocate C.A.Sundaram suggested that Section 19 of The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 should be interpreted to mean that the jurisdiction at the place other than where the wife resides being available only at the option of the wife or that such jurisdiction will be available in exceptional cases where the wife is employed and the husband is unemployed or where the husband suffers from physical or other handicap or is looking after the minor child.

The Court ‘understood’:

That in every district in the country video conferencing is now available. In any case, wherever such facility is available, it ought to be fully utilized and all the High Courts ought to issue appropriate administrative instructions to regulate the use of video conferencing for certain category of cases. Matrimonial cases where one of the parties resides outside Court’s jurisdiction is one of such categories. Wherever one or both the parties make a request for use of video conference, proceedings may be conducted on video conferencing, obviating the needs of the party to appear in person.”

The SC thus directed,

That in matrimonial or custody matters or in proceedings between parties to a marriage or arising out of disputes between parties to a marriage, wherever the defendants/respondents are located outside the jurisdiction of the Court, the Court where proceedings are instituted, may examine whether it is in the interest of justice to incorporate any safeguards for ensuring that summoning of defendant/respondent does not result in denial of justice. Order incorporating such safeguards may be sent along with the summons. The safeguards can be:- i) availability of video conferencing facility...”

Hon’ble Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Krishna Veni Nagam v. Harish Nagam, [Transfer Petition (Civil) No. 1912 of 2014].

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