(i) civil court, that court, and in

(i) The marriage is solemnised; (ii) The respondent, at the time of the presentation of the petition, resided; 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 case where the respondent is at the 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. This section has been recasted by the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 1976. The old section did not take sufficient account of cases where one of the parties did not reside in India or his whereabouts were unknown. The newly inserted provision in the section authorises the filing of petitions in the courts within whose jurisdiction the respondent is residing. Another new head of jurisdiction has been added to Section 19 where under residence of the petitioner confers jurisdiction on the local court, but in such a case the respondent should be residing outside India at the time of presentations of the petition or has not been heard of for seven years by those who would naturally have heard of him if he were alive.

District courts means in any area for which there is a civil court, that court, and in any other area the principal civil court of original jurisdiction, and includes, any other civil court which may be specified by the State Government by notification in the official Gazettes as having jurisdiction in respect of the matters dealt within this Act. In the context of clause (ii) of the section, the word “resides” must mean actual place of residence and not a legal or constructing residence, it certainly does not connote the place of residence. In Mahadevi v.

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N.N. Sirathia, the court observed: “Section 19 does not deal with the length of residence. Even a short residence may be sufficient to give the court jurisdiction to entertain petition.

If the husband and wife had lived together in the same residence then they must be deemed to have resided together. The enjoyment of marital relation is not relevant factor in determining if the husband and wife had resided together. Thus the factum of residence and not the purpose of residence that is material.”


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