A Parsi couple from Vyara town in Gujarat, 65 kms from Surat, was granted divorce by the Special District and Sessions Court on 26th November, 2019, by the Principal District Judge of the Parsi District Matrimonial Court, R K Desai, who was aided by five delegates from within the community. A collective decision to grant a divorce was made, after the couple filed for the Special Marriage Suit in the court in 2017. The legal custody of the six-year-old daughter was awarded to the mother.
The Parsi Marriage and Divorce (PMD) Act of 1936 is a special legislation that governs marital ties between two Zoroastrians (Parsis) in India. A court set up under the PMD Act alone has the jurisdiction to solve marital issues regarding Parsi couples.
The couple, both working as bankers, got married in Navsari, in accordance with Parsi laws in 2011. However, irreconcilable differences between them, as also the alleged charge on the husband and his family of inflicting physical and mental torture on the wife for not having a male child, drove them to divorce. According to the wife’s lawyer, Priti Joshi, the couple were well off, and were adamant on getting a divorce despite the jury delegates trying to convince them to sort out their differences.
So far, over fifteen Parsi couples have taken divorce, since 2010, through the same process.