The successful fight against Triple Talaq has now inspired a Parsi woman to petition against the validity of provisions of Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act in the apex court. She alleged that the personal law makes it difficult for an estranged couple to get a divorce in the Parsi community.

Naomi Sam Irani filed for her own divorce from an 11-year-old marriage in the Bombay High Court. She and her husband have a 10-year-old son and an eight-month-old daughter.

Irani, who filed for her case through Counsel Neela Gokhale, said that the 1938 personal law does not allow a swift divorce procedure. She further said that the system is “exasperatingly cumbersome” and does not help in mediation and settlement as in case of Hindu women under the family court system.

Irani filed for the divorce a year and a half ago but, “the chief justice hasn’t appointed delegates as written under the PMDA to participate in the pending matrimonial proceedings, depriving the petitioner of speedy disposal of her case,” she said, TOI reported.

Under Section 18 of PMDA, special courts can be constituted in Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai where the concerned HC chief justices appoint a judge. The CJ also appoint five delegates who aid the judge in deciding on alimony, maintenance as well as custody and maintenance of children and their education.

“It is a fact that the Parsi chief matrimonial court sits only once or twice a year… only for a short duration. In view of increase in divorce petitions, jury as a fact-finding body practically impedes speedy justice,” – Irani

“These delegates… act like jury and they decide the case by majority decision. It is a fact that Parsi chief matrimonial court sits only once or twice a year… only for a short duration. In view of increase in divorce petitions, jury as a fact finding body practically impedes speedy justice,” Irani said. She also requested the SC to do away with the jury system.

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“The jury delegates adjudicate a divorce petition based on their personal notion of societal norms, morality and ethics, which may not be in sync with the principles of natural justice and the ethos and dynamics of society,” the petitioner added.

She also condemned the PMDA for creating inconvenience for estranged couples who don’t live in metro cities where Parsi matrimonial courts suits can be filed. This is also contradictory to the SC’s order that one should file matrimonial disputes near the residence of the woman.

“Thus, the fundamental right to life and liberty, which includes the right to speedy justice, is being denied to a particular community…” Irani said.

She is seeking speedy jurisdiction in matters of marriage and divorce in the Parsi community.

Picture credit- Live Mint

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