The marriage between the plaintiff-respondent Smt. Rajwant Kaur Sekhon and the defendant-appellant-Harpreet Singh Sekhon was solemnized by way of Anand Karaj on 09.02.2000. The plaintiff alleged that her marriage was a decent marriage. Her parents, brothers and sisters spent about Rs.30,00,000/- on the marriage. A list of expenses on the dowry articles and the other expenses including ring ceremony expenses has been attached. The defendant-appellant along with his parents had been permanently residing in USA. They are green card holders of United States of America. The father of the defendant-appellant namely Dilraj Singh Sekhon Ex Joint Director of Central Bureau of Investigation after leaving his job in India settled permanently in USA. He was working as a lecturer at Columbia College, Chicago, USA. However, for the last about three years, he was living at Mohali in Punjab in his own house. He is owner of more than 70 'killas' (acres) of agricultural land in village Issawal, Ludhiana (Punjab). The plaintiff-respondent was residing at House No.645 Sector-16, Faridabad (Haryana). The said house is owned by the father of the defendant/appellant and is a Joint Hindu Family property. According to the plaintiff-respondent, the minor daughter of the parties namely Sirut (sic. Seerat) Sekhon through her mother and guardian Rajwant Kaur Sekhon (plaintiff- respondent) filed a suit against her father Harpreet Singh Sekhon (defendant/appellant), her grand parents namely Dilraj Singh Sekhon and Smt. Tejinder Kaur, her father's brother namely Sarabjit Singh Sekhon and paternal aunt namely Smt. Satnam Kaur inter alia claiming that she is also co-owner in possession in equal share of the residential House No.645 Sector-16, Faridabad; besides, co-owner in equal share of property in village Issawal, District Ludhiana (Punjab) and co-owner in residential House No.722 Phase-IX, near Cricket Stadium, Mohali. The said suit was pending in the Court of Civil Judge (Junior Division), Faridabad at the time of filing of the present suit out of which the present appeal arises. On 24.02.2002, the plaintiff/respondent received a telephone message from Dilraj Singh Sekhon (father-in-law of the plaintiff), the husband of the plaintiff and her mother-in-law as also other family members namely Satnam Kaur and Pikky Aulakh. It is alleged that they were taunting her for bringing inadequate dowry. They were harassing her mentally and physically by beating her. First Information Report (FIR) for the offences under Sections 498-A and 406 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC-for short) was got registered in this regard at Police Station Central, Faridabad. After marriage, the plaintiff and defendant resided at Mohali, Ludhiana and village Issawal. The defendant-appellant then went to USA leaving the plaintiff at her parental house at Faridabad. There she had a daughter on 04.12.2000. The in-laws of the plaintiff did not cook food for three days as they did not want a female child. On 30.12.2000, the defendant came back to India and took the plaintiff with him to Mohali. The defendant, it is alleged, came to India from USA on several occasions, however, despite promising to take the plaintiff to USA, he never took her and each time he would say that he would take her next time. The plaintiff in this way felt that she was being made a fool of. Thereafter on 23.05.2005, the defendant obtained a decree of divorce from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinios Department-Domestic Relations Division. In terms of the said decree it is alleged that an ex parte and a fraudulent divorce decree was got passed in favour of the defendant. The said divorce decree being a foreign judgment it was prayed was liable to be set aside being not a valid decree in view of Section 13 of the Code of Civil Procedure (C.P.C-for short) and on other grounds as well. It was submitted that under the provision of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 only the District Courts within the local limits of whose ordinary civil jurisdiction (i) the marriage was solemnized, or (ii) the respondent, at the time of the presentation of the petition, resides, or (iii) the parties to the marriage last resided together, or (iv) the petitioner is residing at the time of the presentation of the petition, in a case where the respondent is, at that time, residing outside the territories to which this Act extends, or has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by those persons who would naturally have heard of him if he were alive would have the jurisdiction to entertain and try the petition. Therefore, it was submitted that the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinos had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition. According to the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act under which the parties were admittedly married, irretrievable break down of marriage as a ground for dissolution of the marriage was not recognised. It was submitted that the defendant by way of filing the divorce petition in USA committed fraud and forged grounds, which were not available to him; besides, no valid ground mentioned in the divorce petition by the defendant was existing at the time of filing the divorce petition. The parties never resided in USA together and the plaintiff never refused to reside with the defendant in USA or in India. The defendant does not provide or send from USA any kind of maintenance to the plaintiff and her daughter in India. The defendant and her family had been avoiding services in all Court cases which were pending at Faridabad. The plaintiff and her minor daughter were fully dependent on her parents. The plaintiff had also filed a petition under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act for seeking restitution of conjugal rights.
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