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HC: FB evidence must be backed with proof

January 28, 2020 06:18 AM

COURSTESY TOI JAN 28

HC: FB evidence must be backed with proof
Ajay.Sura@timesgroup.com

Chandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana high court has made it clear that merely from looking at Facebook messages and photographs, the date and place on which they were clicked cannot be ascertained by the court. It has to be proved and corroborated with some evidence to make such posts/messages admissible as proof in a case, the high court observed in its order while refusing to accept Facebook photographs/messages produced by a woman to prove that there was no separation of a year between her and her husband prior to filing of divorce petition.


In this case, the marriage between the woman, a citizen and resident of UK and her husband, who belongs to a renowned business family of Jalandhar, was dissolved by a family court in Jalandhar in August 2014.

Photos & Dates
On the woman’s argument regarding separation period citing FB posts, the HC observed that it is not understandable how from a look at the FB messages and photographs, the date and place on which they were clicked can be ascertained

Woman did not report coercion by hubby: Court

The marriage was dissolved by the court on basis of mutual consent while relying on the fact that the couple had been living separately for more than a year. In this case, the woman had even accepted alimony of Rs 2.25 crore from her husband.

The marriage between the couple was solemnized on April 8, 2007 at Newcastle Upon Tyne, Britain. The couple cohabited at Kot Kalan village in Jalandhar district and had a son in September 2008. The marriage turned sour due to their temperamental differences and they started living separately. The couple approached the family court in Jalandhar for divorce by mutual consent claiming they are living separately for one year. It was agreed that husband would pay her Rs 2.25 crore alimony, the custody of son would be with him and the woman would get visiting rights. Their first statement was recorded on February 1, 2014 and second statement was recorded on August 22, 2014 after which the divorce was granted.

However, aggrieved from the divorce, the woman approached the high court on the grounds that the family court was misrepresented about their separation and they were not living separately for one year prior — a mandatory condition to get divorce by mutual consent. She presented some Facebook messages, photographs of both the parties to prove that they had not been living separately.

Another argument by the woman was that her consent for divorce was obtained by the husband by undue influence and coercion.

After hearing her arguments, the high court observed that throughout the proceedings before the court below, the woman was represented by a counsel but at no point of time, did she ever report or bring it to the notice of the court below that she was under any coercion or pressure.

The high court was also of the view that after making first statement she went to the UK and once she was in the UK, there was no question of her being under any threat, much less, any duress to return to India to get her statement recorded in August.

“Still further, for this court to appreciate and to look at the documents, photographs as well as Facebook messages, a formal application under civil procedure code should have been filed, so that an opportunity to rebut the veracity of the photographs etc could have been provided to the husband. The court cannot take into account the Facebook photographs in present circumstance,” the high court held, dismissing her

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