SC: “Few Facebook Pictures With Bar Association Not Enough To Show Bias”

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The Supreme Court heard the transfer petition filed by the wife in the case of Neetu Yadav vs Sachin Yadav. Having found no reason to not adhere to this petition, the court allowed the transfer.

Brief facts of the case

The divorce petition is pending before the Dwarka Court in New Delhi. The husband has filed it on the ground of cruelty. As per the fact disclosed through the petition, the couple had been married since 2008 in Indore. They have two children, a girl and a boy aged eleven and eight. They resided in Indore till July 2020 and recently moved to New Delhi due to the transfer of the husband. He works as a Vigilance Officer in the Airport Authority of India.

Arguments

The petitioner in this travel petition has argued that she cannot travel a distance of eight hundred kilometres to attend the hearing of the case in New Delhi. This is because she, along with the two children, is residing with her parents in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The three of them are entirely dependent on her old and ailing parents.

The respondent files a counter-affidavit contending that the wife is a postgraduate. Her entire family is associated with the judicial structure of Madhya Pradesh. Further, the petitioner’s mother is a retired senior administrative position holder from the district judiciary. She has good family relations with the judicial officers who work in the District Judiciary. Additionally, she is also associated with the Unionized Cadre of District Court and their Cooperative Society.

Due to the influence, asserted by the petitioner’s mother, they managed to have the first notice of the divorce petition returned unserved. The petitioner’s elder brother is also a member of the District Bar Association and has been practising in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh and the Subordinate Court for more than 12 years. He is friendly with all the judicial officers of the District Court. Her younger brother is working in the Information Technology Department in the Indore bench of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh. 

Due to these reasons, the respondent contends that he will not be able to get a fair and free hearing in Madhya Pradesh. Further, he says that the petitioner is capable of travelling alone to Delhi, and he is prepared to bear the cost of her travel.

Court’s Observations

The Courts observe that the only reason why this Divorce petition has been filed in Dwarka is that the respondent got posted here in New Delhi and that the couple last resided together in New Delhi.

Further, the court observed that this transfer is contested on the grounds of the enormous influence that the petitioner’s mother and brothers exert in the judiciary of the State. 

Looking into the claim of the respondent they examine the few screenshots and pictures of the petitioner’s brother’s Facebook page attached by the respondent. The court states that these printouts of the Facebook pages contain nothing other than the photographs of the petitioner’s brother with comments revolving around some joyous occasions.

The pictures show the petitioner’s brother in the cricket tournament. It was not a private event but an event open to all lawyers of the district bar association. It cannot be the basis to conclude that the petitioner’s brother is very influential with the local judiciary.

The pictures are of a few persons who had participated in the cricket competition conducted by the Indore Bar Association. It is not appropriate to conclude that the respondent will not receive fair treatment at the hands of the Family Court.

Court’s Order

The single-judge bench allowed the divorce petition pending before the Principal Judge, Family Court in Dwarka to be transferred to the Court of Principal Judge, Family Court, Indore.


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