Single, seeks divorce

Here's a conundrum: Can a man who claims not to have married a woman seek a divorce from her? This is the problem facing the principal judge of the Gaya family court in India, in the matter of Rajesh Majhi versus Pramila. Majhi has presented a petition for divorce in which he claims that he hasn't married Pramila as per Hindu rituals. Now, I'm no expert on Hindu marriages, although I do remember many years ago acting for an Indian client in which the question arose as to whether his 'marriage' in a remote Indian village would be recognised under English law. The conclusion, I recall, was that it would not, with the result that there could be no divorce proceedings in this country. Accordingly, if Mr Majhi's 'marriage' is not recognised under Indian law, then surely the court cannot grant him a divorce. Of course, it is very odd that Majhi seeks a divorce and claims he is not married in the same petition. Surely, the logical thing to have done was to first seek a declaration from the court as to the validity of the marriage, and only then issue divorce proceedings if the court found that the marriage was valid?

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