Scheduled tribe couple cannot seek divorce under Hindu Marriage Act, 1956: TRIPURA HIGH COURT
16th September 2020
The Tripura High Court bench comprising of Justices S. Talapatra and SG Chattopadhyay observed that marriage between persons belonging to the Scheduled Tribes (ST), notified under Article 342 of the Indian Constitution cannot dissolve marriage under provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956. At the same time Section 15 of Special Marriage Act, 1954, provides a very complex structure for registration of marriage and requires consideration of the government. The District Court had allowed the suit filed by the husband under Hindu Marriage Act, 1956, granting the decree of divorce on the grounds of cruelty and desertion. But the couple belonged to the Tripura community- Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution Order,1950- and had conflicting issues as to the decree of divorce because of clause 25 Article 366 of the Constitution, as the dissolution of marriage is not maintainable under the Hindu Marriage Act,1956.
1. Was the marriage notified under Article 342 and can their marriage be dissolved under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956?
2. Can adoption of Hindu customs at the time of marriage by persons belonging to ST be considered as conversation?
The bench answered:
1. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1956, will have no application for purpose of dissolution of marriage etc. even though the marriage of the parties were solemnised as per Hindu customs and rites on the basis of their ethnicity of ST unless the Central Government by notification may direct, otherwise.
2. None of the appellant and the responded claimed to have converted to Hinduism thus, by considering 'conversion' the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956, cannot be applied.
A copy of the order is sent to the Secretary to the Ministry of Justice for examining the aspects.