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The Gujarat High Court has reaffirmed that under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (the Act), a matrimonial dispute appeal must be filed within 90 days of the Family Court's decision or judgment.

The ruling clarifies the conflict between the two sections because, while Section 19 of the Family Courts Act only allows for a 30-day appeal period, Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act provides that an appeal must be filed within 90 days of the date of the order.

The full bench decision of the Bombay High Court in Shivram Dodanna Shetty v. Sharmila Shivram Shetty 2017(1) Mhl. The statute of limitations outlined in Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 shall apply to any appeal brought under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act of 1984, which was upheld by the division bench of Justices A. J. Desai and Rajendra M. Sareen.

According to the applicant, there was no delay in filing the first appeal due to the provisions of Section 28(4) of the Hindu Marriage Act, which sets a deadline of 90 days for filing an appeal challenging the judgment and order made by the Court in the matrimonial proceedings. However, the high court registry objected to the applicant's seven-day delay in filing the first appeal.

Contentions 

Mr. Kaash Thkkar, the applicant's attorney, contended that while the Hindu Marriage Act was established specifically to address issues between husbands and wives regarding their marritomily Courts Act, 1984 is a special statute. He further argued that Section 28(4) of the Limitation Act, which was amended in 2003, i.e. following the establishment of the Family Courts Act, 1984, set a 90-day deadline for filing an appeal against a judgment or order and that this deadline must be taken into account when determining how long to wait to file the appeal.

The court determined: 

The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 was passed to update and codify the law governing Hindu marriage. The aforementioned Hindu Marriage Act includes provisions for restitution of conjugal rights, judicial separation, divorce, maintaining the spouse, permanent alimony and maintenance, child custody, and other forms of disputes that may develop between the husband and wife and other family members. Under the above-mentioned provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, the parties may seek the appropriate remedies. The Family Court is required to abide by the provisions enacted under this Act when such petitions are submitted before the Family Courts under the Family Courts Act of 1984.

The court added the following: 

The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 was revised in 2003 to change Section 28(4)'s 30-day waiting time from 30-days to 90-days in light of the Supreme Court's ruling in the case of Savitry Pandey v. Prem Chandra Pandey, which was reported in AIR 2002 SC 591.

The court ultimately decided that the appeal is valid because it was submitted within the 90-day window allowed by the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955.

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