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The Marital Patchwork of Colonial South Asia: Forum Shopping from Britain to Baroda

  • Mitra Sharafi

The British Empire created channels for imperially intended movement. Commodities, bodies, and ideas flowed along axes structured by imperial law and technology. Unintended motion also occurred along these same planes. With every legal structure meant to promote one type of behavior came litigants devising strategies to achieve the opposite. Collusion, bribery, forgery, and perjury were favorite ways to manipulate imperial law. The more permissible strategy of forum shopping was another. Forum shopping is the attempt to push one's case into a jurisdiction promising an optimal result when there is ambiguity over the controlling jurisdiction. It reveals the perception among litigants that bottom-up—and sideways—mechanics exist within legal systems. Unlike work on resistance to state law through extralegal means, I here examine the ways parties tried to work strategically within the confines of the legal system to reconfigure their marital situations. Rather than documenting the success of these maneuvers, however, I note their more common failure. The colonial courts usually saw through unconvincing attempts to forum shop. The fact that litigants continued to try reflects the ingenuity, arguably, of the “legal lottery” mechanism at work in British imperial law. Colonial law, and therefore colonial rule, reinforced its hold on subjects by dangling before them the possibility of individual relief through rule-of-law proceduralism.

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1. My terms of access to the notebooks of the Parsi Chief Matrimonial Court, held at the Bombay High Court in Mumbai, prevent me from naming the parties to PCMC proceedings. Roman numeral references to PCMC notebooks describe separately paginated (or unpaginated) sections within each volume. BHC stands for Bombay High Court (Mumbai, India); BLR for the Bombay Law Reporter; HCA for the Highland Council Archives (Inverness, Scotland); ILR Bom for Indian Law Reports Bombay Series; IPC for the Indian Penal Code; and PCMC for the Parsi Chief Matrimonial Court of Bombay (Mumbai). When speaking of postcolonial Bombay, I have used the name “Mumbai” in references to the city after its official 1995 name change.

2. On collusion, see note 88 (below). On bribery, see Norman Cranstoun Macleod, “A Box of Mangoes,” HRA/D63/A8(a), 1-2 in Macleod of Cadboll Papers (1831–1983), Highland Council Archives. On forgery, see commentary and cases on the Indian Penal Code, ss. 463–477A, in Ranchhoddas, Ratanlal and Thakore, Dhirajlal Keshavlal, The Indian Penal Code (Bombay: Bombay Law Reporter Office, 1926), 403–23. On perjury, see Beaman, F. C. O., “Eheu Fugaces,” Bombay Law Journal 3 (1925): 208–9; Gandhi, M. K., The Law and the Lawyers (Ahmedabad, India: Navajivan, 2004), 122; and Schneider, Wendie, “‘Enfeebling the Arm of Justice’: Perjury and Colonial Administration under the East India Company,” in Modern Histories of Crime and Punishment, ed. Dubber, Markus Dirk and Farmer, Lindsay (Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2007), 299327.

3. On forum shopping in contemporary binational divorce cases, see “Divorce: Money in Misery,” The Economist, February 5, 2009.The same concept exists in commercial contracts between international merchants through choice-of-law clauses. For example, see Voigt, Stefan, “Are International Merchants Stupid? Their Choice of Law Sheds Doubt on the Legal Origin Theory,” Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 5 (1) (2008): 120. Many thanks to Stewart Macaulay for drawing this comparison to my attention.

4. On the rejection of state law through the use of private violence, see Guha, Sumit, “Wrongs and Rights in Maratha Country: Antiquity, Custom and Power in Eighteenth-Century India,” in Changing Concepts of Rights and Justice in South Asia, ed. Anderson, Michael R. and Guha, Sumit (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000), 2326; and Radha Kumar, “Sex and Punishment among Mill-Workers in Early Twentieth-Century Bombay,” in Anderson and Guha, eds., Changing Concepts, 194–95.

5. Benton, Lauren, Law and Colonial Cultures: Legal Regimes in World History, 1400–1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 3, 13, 29.

6. Benton, Law and Colonial Cultures, 148–49.

7. See Benton, Law and Colonial Cultures, 128, 137. Studies of forum shopping generally lie outside the British imperial context. For a sample, see von Benda-Beckmann, C. E., “Forum Shopping and Shopping Forums: Dispute Settlement in a Minangkabau Village in West Sumatra, Indonesia,” in her The Broken Stairways to Consensus: Village Justice and State Courts in Minangkabau (Dordrecht: ICG Printing, 1984), 3764; Hartog, Hendrik, Man and Wife in America: A History (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000); and Friedman, Lawrence M., “A Dead Language: Divorce Law and Practice before No-Fault,” Virginia Law Review 86 (2000): 14971536.

8. See Sharafi, Mitra, Colonial Parsis and Law: A Cultural History (Government Research Fellowship Lectures 2009–2010) (Mumbai: K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, forthcoming 2010).

9. “It is true that in history the law can be seen to mediate and to legitimize existent class relations. Its forms and procedures may crystallize those relations and mask ulterior justice. But this mediation, through the forms of law, is something quite distinct from the exercise of unmediated force. The forms and rhetoric of law acquire a distinct identity which may, on occasion, inhibit power and afford some protection to the powerless” (Thompson, E. P., Whigs and Hunters: The Origin of the Black Act (New York: Pantheon, 1975), 261; see also 264).

10. See Fisch, Jörg, “Law as a Means and as an End: Some Remarks on the Function of European and Non-European Law in the Process of European Expansion,” in European Expansion and Law: The Encounter of European and Indigenous Law in 19th- and 20th-Century Africa and Asia, ed. Mommsen, W. J. and De Moor, J. A. (Oxford: Berg, 1992), 1538.

11. Note, however, the legal fictions resorted to with regard to smaller religious communities: see note 30 and accompanying text (below). A secular legal regime existed for intercommunity marriages under the Special Marriages Act 1872, but it was rarely used because it required significant inheritance- and religion-related sacrifices; see Aiyar, S. Krishnamurthi, Law and Practice Relating to Marriages in India and Burma (Lahore: University Book Agency Law Publishers, 1937), 4158; Jain, M. P., Outlines of Indian Legal History (Nagpur, India: Wadhwa, 1990), 630–31; and Chatterjee, Nandini, Christian Personal Law in India: The Modern Origins of Yet Another Tradition (Cambridge Centre of South Asian Studies, Occasional Paper No. 4, 2004) (Cambridge: Cambridge Centre of South Asian Studies, 2004).

12. Polygamy was prohibited to Parsis with the passage of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1865, and to Indian Jews with the ruling in Rachel Benjamin v. Benjamin Solomon Benjamin, I.L.R. 50 Bom. 369 (1926); see Roland, Joan, Jews in British India: Identity in a Colonial Era (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England for Brandeis University Press, 1989), 294 at note 37. Polygamy was prohibited to Hindus under classical Hindu law, although long traditions of polygyny existed in many Hindu communities, with polyandry existing among matrilineal communities like the Nayars of the southwesterly Malabar Coast, and in certain Himalayan societies. Divorce was prohibited under Hindu law. A Hindu's conversion to Christianity allowed his or her marriage to be dissolved if the unconverted spouse so wished, although the courts did not necessarily make this easy. See Mallampalli, Chandra, Christians and Public Life in Colonial South India, 1863–1937: Contending with Marginality (London: Routledge, 2004), 7580. On the Native Converts Marriage Dissolution Act of 1866, see Aiyar, Law and Practice Relating to Marriages, 229–40. A Christian husband's conversion to another religion and subsequent remarriage gave his first wife grounds for divorce (Indian Divorce Act 1869, s.10 in Rattigan, Henry, The Law of Divorce Applicable to Christians in India (The Indian Divorce Act 1869) [Lahore: University Book Agency, 1936], 93). For cases on attempted dissolutions of marriage through conversion, see Jain, Outlines, 611. For cases of Parsi husbands leaving their wives and converting to Islam in order to marry Muslim women, see Patel, B. B. and Paymaster, R. B., Parsi Prakash: Being a Record of Important Events in the Growth of the Parsi Community in Western India (Bombay: Bombay Parsi Panchayat, 1878–1942) (in Gujarati), vol. 3, 840 (PCMC Suit No.2 of 1883); and PCMC Notebook 1893–1903, I: 214 (PCMC Suit No. 5 of 1895). See also Palkhiwalla v. Palkhiwalla, 39 B.L.R. 1143 (1937). For allegations that a Parsi wife proposed joint conversion to Christianity so that she and her Muslim lover could marry each other, see PCMC 1924-8, III: 99 (Suit No.1 of 1927).

13. In this issue, see Rohit De, “The Two Husbands of Vera Tiscenko: Apostasy, Conversion, and Divorce in Late Colonial India,” 1011–1041; and Chandra Mallampalli, “Escaping the Grip of Personal Law in Colonial India: Claiming or Rejecting ‘Hindu-ness,’” 1043–1065. On the legal consequences of conversion, see Chatterjee, Christian Personal Law; and Mallampalli, Christians and Public Life, 1–84.

14. See note 7 (above).

15. Hartog, Man and Wife, 264–66, 277–78; Friedman, “Dead Language,” 1505.

16. Hartog, Man and Wife, 277.

17. Friedman, “Dead Language,” 1518–22.

18. Ibid., 1512–17. The adultery-based route was recommended particularly because, at least during the nineteenth century, New York courts generally denied comity (recognition of other states' laws) with regard to the divorce law of states like Indiana and Nevada. See Hartog, Man and Wife, 272–77. In the British context, see references to the similar “hotel-bill class of action”: “Adam vs Eve. Mr. Justice Wool's Views on Marriage and Divorce,” Kaiser-i-Hind (October 29, 1933): 33.

19. Renton, Alexander Wood and Phillimore, George Granville, Colonial Laws and Courts (London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1907), 4344.

20. Ibid. For a case of attempted forum shopping by a Parsi husband seeking to avoid British Indian law on the basis of domicile in Hyderabad, see Panthaky v. Panthaky, 43 B.L.R. 569 (1941). For earlier marital cases involving Parsi circulation between Hyderabad and British India, see PCMC 1893–1903, I: 37–61 (Suit No. 5 of 1893); and II: 52–55, 79 (Suit No.1 of 1899).

21. Within Britain, some litigants had the choice of not only English law but also potentially of Scottish law. The law of Scotland was historically based upon continental droit civil, rather than being a common-law system. See Smith, T. B., Studies Critical and Comparative (Edinburgh: W. Green & Son, 1962), particularly 2861 and 72–88.

22. See Headrick, Daniel E., The Tools of Empire: Technology and European Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), 1742, 129–39 (particularly at 130), and 142–56 (particularly at 155). British judges working in India typically spent three to four months of every year or two in Britain. The Bombay barrister J. D. Inverarity spent several months of every year hunting on his estate in the Scottish Highlands, with stopovers in East Africa for safaris en route; see Munshi, K. M., Bombay High Court: Half a Century of Reminiscences (Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1963), 6; Ferreira, D. J., “Reminiscences,” in The Bombay Incorporated Law Society Centenary, 1894–1994 (Bombay: Bombay Incorporated Law Society, 1995), 260; and Bunshah, Framroze Noaroji, “The Late Mr J. D. Inverarity,” Bombay Law Journal 2 (1924): 324. His judge cousin, Norman Macleod, traveled to Britain seventeen times over thirty-six years, averaging one trip every 2.1 years. Macleod stayed in Britain for two to four months each time; see Norman Macleod, “Voyages to India and Back,” HRA/D63/A8(a), in Macleod of Cadboll Papers (HCA).

23. See Visram, RozinaAsians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto, 2002); and Mukherjee, Sumita, Nationalism, Education and Migrant Identities: The England-Returned (London: Routledge, 2010). On Indian law students in London, see Sharafi, Mitra, “A New History of Colonial Lawyering: Likhovski and Legal Identities in the British Empire,” Law and Social Inquiry 32 (2007): 1082–83.

24. See, for example, Le Mesurier v. Layard, 3 New Law Reports 227 (1900); Cooray, L. J. M., The Reception in Ceylon of the English Trust (Colombo: Lake House Printers and Publishers, 1971), 13. On doubly colonized jurisdictions generally, see Reid, Kenneth and Zimmerman, Reinhard, “The Development of Legal Doctrine in a Mixed System,” in their edited volume, A History of Private Law in Scotland, vol. 1, Introduction and Property (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 48; Tetley, William, “Mixed Jurisdictions: Common Law vs. Civil Law (Codified and Uncodified),” Louisiana Law Review 60 (Spring 2000): 677728; Reinhard Zimmermann and Daniel Visser, “Introduction: South African Law as a Mixed Legal System,” 1–30, and Fagan, Eduard, “Roman-Dutch Law in its South African Historical Context,” 33–64, both in Southern Cross: Civil Law and Common Law in South Africa, ed. Zimmermann, Reinhard and Visser, Daniel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996).

25. Many of these civilian doctrines were misunderstood by common-law officials. See, for example, Cooray, Reception in Ceylon, 22–24.

26. For a case involving customary law and Siam, see Ma Wun Di v. Ma Kin, 35 Indian Appeals (1907–8), 41–47. See also Young, Ernest, The Kingdom of the Yellow Robe being sketches of the domestic and religious rites and ceremonies of the Siamese (Westminster: A. Constable & Co., 1970), 9899, 218–34; and Campbell, J. G. D., Siam in the Twentieth Century, Being the Experiences and Impressions of a British Official (London: E. Arnold, 1902), 181–84.

27. On Parsi links to China, see note 111 (below); and Paymaster, R. B., Early History of the Parsees in India from Their Landing in Sanjan to 1700 AD (Bombay: Zarthoshti Dharam Sambandh Kelavni Apnari ane Dnyan Felavnari Mandli, 1954), xiii. This article's third case study, the Bombay-Yazd bigamy case, illustrates a successful attempt to take advantage of Persian law, which permitted polygamy for Zoroastrians, rather than the law of British India, which did not.

28. “A Plan for the Administration of Justice, extracted from the Proceedings of the Committee of Circuit, 15th August, 1772,” in Readings in the Constitutional History of India, 1757–1947, ed. S. V. Desika Char (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1983), 106 (Article XXIII).

29. “We disclaim … the right and the desire to impose our convictions on any of our subjects. We declare it to be our royal will and pleasure that none be in any ways favored, none molested or disquieted, by reason of their religious faith or observances, but that all shall alike enjoy the equal and impartial protection of the law; and we do strictly charge and enjoin from all interference with the religious belief or worship of any of our subjects on pain of our highest displeasure (“Proclamation of 1858,” in Readings, Char, 299). The move seems to have been a strategic one. As Victoria told Lady Canning, “I think that the greatest care ought to be taken not to interfere with their religion, as once a cry of that kind is raised among a fanatical people—very strictly attached to their religion—there is no knowing what it may lead to and where it may end” (quoted in Hibbert, Christopher, The Great Mutiny India 1857 [London: Allen Tate, 1978], 167).

30. See Jain, Outlines, 601–2. For an instance of the Hindu legal fiction applied to Jains, see Chotay Lall v. Chunnoo Lall, 6 Indian Appeals 15 (1878); Amava v. Mahadgauda, I.L.R. 22 Bom. 416 (1898); and generally, Werner Menski, “Jaina Law as an Unofficial Legal System,” in Studies in Jaina History and Culture: Disputes and Dialogues, ed. Peter Fluegel (London: Routledge, 2006), 419–37. On the fiction's application to Sikhs, see Rani Bhagwan Kaur v. Jogendra Chandra Bose, 30 I.A. 249 (1903).

31. See Ibbetson, David, “Sir William Jones as Comparative Lawyer,” in Sir William Jones, 1746–1794: A Commemoration, ed. Murray, Alexander (Oxford: Oxford University Press on behalf of University College Oxford, 1998), 1742; Cohn, Bernard, “Law and the Colonial State in India,” in his Colonialism and its Forms of Knowledge (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996), 5775; and Jain, Outlines, 585–90.

32. Under the Ottoman Empire's millet system, by contrast, local courts operated by ethno-religious communities themselves handled cases specific to those communities. See Kemal H. Karpat, “Millets and Nationality: The Roots of the Incongruity of Nation and State in the Post-Ottoman Era,” 141–43, Inalcik, Halil, “Ottoman Archival Materials on Millets,” 437, both in Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The Functioning of a Plural Society, vol. 1, The Central Lands, ed. Braude, Benjamin and Lewis, Bernard (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1982); and Karen Barkey, “Aspects of Legal Pluralism in the Ottoman Empire: A Relational Field of Religious Differentiation,” paper presented at “New Perspectives on Legal Pluralism” Symposium, Newberry Library, Chicago (April 23, 2010) (on file with author).

33. On Punjab, see Gilmartin, David, Empire and Islam: Punjab and the Making of Pakistan (London: I. B. Tauris, 1988), 1318; Boulnois, C. A. and Rattigan, W. H., Notes on Customary Law as Administered in the Courts of Punjab (London: W. Clowes and Sons, 1878); Tupper, C. L., Punjab Customary Law (Simla, 1881); Ellis, T. P., Notes on Punjab Custom (Lahore: Civil and Military Gazette Press, 1921); Rustomji, Kaikhosru J., A Treatise on Customary Law in the Punjab (Lahore: University Book Agency, 1936); and Rattigan, W. H., A Digest of Civil Law for the Punjab. Chiefly based on the Customary Law (Lahore: Law Publishers, 1938). On the Malabar coast, see Arunima, G., There Comes Papa: Colonialism and the Transformation of Matriliny in Kerala, Malabar, c. 1850–1940 (Delhi: Orient Longman, 2003), 144.

34. To be recognized by law, a custom had to be proven to be (1) ancient, (2) invariable, and (3) not repugnant to the general law (Nugender Narain v. Rughoonath Narain Dey, Sutherland's Weekly Reporter 20 [1864] and Raghavendra v. Balkrishna Raghavendra, 4 Bombay Appeals Cases 113). See Jain, Outlines, 615. For examples of failed attempts to prove custom, see the cases of Rahimatbai v. Hirbai (1875), and Bachebi v. Makhan Lal (1880), in this issue, Mallampalli, “Escaping the Grip,” 1058–1059, 1061–1062; and Joao Mariano Lopes v. Francisco Lopes, 5 Bombay High Court Reports 172 (1867–8).

35. See Ballhatchet, Kenneth, Race, Sex and Class under the Raj: Imperial Attitudes and Policies and their Critics, 1793–1905 (New York: St. Martin's, 1980), 144; Spear, Percival, The Nabobs: A Study of the Social Life of the English in Eighteenth-Century India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998), 126–42; Maher, Reginald, These Are the Anglo-Indians (Calcutta: Swallow, 1962), 2; and Sen, Sudipta, “Colonial Aversions and Domestic Desires: Blood, Race, Sex and the Decline of Intimacy in early British India,” in Sexual Sites, Seminal Attitudes: Sexualities, Masculinities, and Culture in South Asia, ed. Srivastava, Sanjay (Delhi: Sage, 2004), 6364.

36. See Ghosh, Durba, Sex and the Family in Colonial India: The Making of Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006). On intermixing elsewhere in European trade empires, see Miller, Joseph C., Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730–1830 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988), 245–83 (on the mixed Luso-African population of intermediary slave traders in Angola); Cox, Doug, Ranching: Now, Then, and Way Back When (Penticton, Canada: Skookum, 2004), 95 (on Anglo-indigenous ranching populations in western Canada); and, on Euro-indigenous intermediary fur traders in Canada, Brown, Jennifer and Schenck, Theresa, “Métis, Mestizo and Mixed-Blood,” in A Companion to American Indian History, ed. Deloria, Philip J. and Salisbury, Neal (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 335; and Giraud, Marcel, Le Métis Canadien (Paris: Institut d'Ethnologie, 1945).

37. However, Durba Ghosh argues that the seeds of high colonial racism were present from the mid-eighteenth century on (Ghosh, Sex and the Family, 9–10).

38. The exception was mixed race Anglo-Indian women who occasionally married British men, although such couples faced increasing racism as the colonial period progressed. See Sen, “Colonial Aversions,” 65–66; and The Lost World of the Raj: Home from Home and Pomp and Power (BBC documentary, 2007). On the history of the Anglo-Indian population, see Bear, Laura, Lines of the Nation: Indian Railway Workers, Bureaucracy, and the Intimate Historical Self (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 135225; Sen, “Colonial Aversions,” 68–72; Caplan, Lionel, Children of Colonialism: Anglo-Indians in a Postcolonial World (Oxford: Berg, 2001); Hawes, Christopher, Poor Relations: The Making of a Eurasian Community in British India, 1773–1833 (Surrey: Curzon, 1996); Abel, Evelyn, The Anglo-Indian Community: Survival in India (Delhi: Chanakya, 1988); Gist, Noel P. and Wright, Roy Dean, Marginality and Identity: Anglo-Indians as a Racially Mixed Minority in India (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1973), 720; Frank, Anthony, Britain's Betrayal in India: The Story of the Anglo-Indian Community (Bombay: Allied, 1969); Stark, Herbert Alick, Hostages to India or the Life Story of the Anglo-Indian Race (Calcutta: Star Printing Works, 1936); Maher; and Dover, Cedric, Cimmerii? Or Eurasians and Their Future (Calcutta: Modern Art Press, 1929).

39. See note 23.

40. See, for instance, Chetti (Venugopal) v. Chetti (Venugopal), Law Reports 27 Probate 67 (1909). For a case of intermarriage between a nonstudent Parsi man and a British woman living in London, see PCMC Notebook 1913–20, I:44–45 (Suit No. 5 of 1913). For a similar relationship in which the couple was not married, see PCMC Notebook 1928–9, I:13–19 (Suit No. 2 of 1928).

41. For a rare and insightful examination of this form of intermarriage, see Savage, Gail, “More than One Mrs. Mir Anwaruddin: Islamic Divorce and Christian Marriage in Early Twentieth-Century London,” Journal of British Studies 47 (2008): 348–74. Studies of race in the late imperial context have also touched upon intermixing between non-European soldiers and European women during the world wars, albeit briefly. See Levine, Philippa, Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire (New York: Routledge, 2003), 154–55; and Visram, Asians in Britain, 129–35.

42. “Petition for restitution of conjugal rights, filed 28 June 1912,” N. P. A. Wadia v. Eleanora N. P. A. Wadia (Suit No.690 of 1912), 3 verso (BHC).

43. “Written Statement on behalf of the Respondent, filed 18 October 1912,” Wadia v. Wadia, 1 verso (BHC).

44. “Written Statement,” Wadia v. Wadia, 2 verso (BHC).

45. Ibid., 6 recto (BHC).

46. She allegedly also called him “a damn low scum,” “dirty impudent vermin,” and “scum of the earth.” (“Written Statement,” Wadia v. Wadia, 6 recto [BHC]). On the use of the term “nigger” to describe Indians in British satirical cartoons from 1853 on, see Mitter, Partha, Art and Nationalism in Colonial India, 1850–1922 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 145. See also Atkinson, George Francklin, Curry and Rice on Forty Plates, or The Ingredients of Social Life at “Our Station” in India (London: Thacker and Co., 1911).

47. Mrs. Wadia allegedly received and cashed cheques from other men under the name “Eleanora Stanley” after her marriage, refusing to give her husband an explanation (“Written Statement,” Wadia v. Wadia, 3 verso-4 recto [BHC]). She led Mr. Wadia to believe that before her marriage she was a “chaste woman,” when in fact she had lived with a man named Gosschalk, became pregnant by him, and had an illegal abortion. Gosschalk ultimately left her “on account of her vile temper and frequent assaults upon him.” She also told Gosschalk that she had had relationships prior to theirs (“Written Statement,” Wadia v. Wadia, 5 verso [BHC]).

48. “Written Statement,” Wadia v. Wadia, 5 verso (BHC).

49. Wadia v. Wadia, I.L.R. 38 Bom. 130 (1914).

50. “On more than one occasion serious warnings have been issued to English girls who marry Indians coming to England for study or other reasons. They have been cautioned against accepting at their face value Indians of whom they know practically nothing direct; and against facing, without careful inquiry, the immense social disadvantages under which they must labor in India, or the dangers which arise from the entry of English girls into a social system which permits polygamy. While most residents in India can cite cases where mixed marriages have proved successful, it may be said as a general rule that they bring nothing but misery and distress, especially to the Englishwoman” (“Mixed Marriages in India. The Legal Position,” Times of London, May 12, 1913, 5).

51. See the two Scottish divorce cases of Helen Lendrum v. Sukumar Chakravarti, Scots Law Times 67 (1929); Agnes Isobel MacDougall v. Anand Shanker Rao Chitnavis, Sessions Cases 392 (1937); and, for a fictional account, Rabindranath Tagore, “Atonement (Prāyaścitta),” in Selected Short Stories of Rabindranath Tagore, trans. Krishna Dutta and Mary Lago (London: Macmillan, 1991), 103–19. During World War I, extreme measures were taken to prevent Indian soldiers from meeting local women while staying in military hospitals in Britain. See Visram, Asians in Britain, 132–33.

52. See Lendrum v. Chakravarti, 98; and MacDougall v. Chitnavis, 392.

53. See, for instance, Lendrum v. Chakravarti, 97–98. The Brahmo Samaj was a reformist movement amongst Hindus whose members purported to have renounced Hinduism in favor of a universalist creed that promoted equality on the basis of caste, race and sex.

54. The Indian Charivari, in Mitter, Art and Nationalism, 149.

55. The Times (May 12, 1913) cited in “Mixed Marriages in India. Perils of Unions with Persons of Other Races. ‘Times’ Warning,” Advocate of India, May 30, 1913, 5.

56. For a similar depiction of a British wife in the mixed marriage suits of Anwaruddin v. Anwaruddin (1913–16), see Savage, “More than One Mrs. Mir Anwaruddin,” 354, 357; see also 369–71.

57. Oppé, A. S., ed., Wharton's Law Lexicon (Delhi: Universal Law Publishing, 2003), 344–45.

58. See Manson, Edward, Hirschfeld, Julius, Lee, R. W., Corbet, R. G., and Henderson, James S., “Judicial Separation,” Journal of the Society of Comparative Legislation (new series) 6 (1) (1905): 151; Cretney, Stephen, Family Life in the Twentieth Century: A History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 200201; and Oppé, Wharton's Law Lexicon, 341, 547. For a reference to the two-year waiting period normally required in judicial separation cases, see the Matrimonial Causes Act 1884, sec. 5.

59. See, generally, Oppé, Wharton's Law Lexicon, 945–46.

60. See Baker, J. H., An Introduction to English Legal History (London: Butterworths, 1990), 152.

61. “And I must further observe that so far are suits for restitution of conjugal rights from being in truth and in fact what theoretically they purport to be, proceedings for the purpose of insisting on the fulfillment of the obligation of married persons to live together, I have never known an instance in which it has appeared that the suit was instituted for any purpose than to enforce a money demand” (Sir James Hannen in Marshall v. Marshall, 5 P.D. 19 [1879] at 23; cited in Wadia v. Wadia, 136).

62. The Matrimonial Causes Act 1884 empowered the court to make financial orders instead (Cretney, Family Life, 145). Most such orders would presumably be issued on behalf of plaintiff wives against errant husbands.

63. Citing Blackstone, William, Commentaries on the Laws of England, vol. 1, book i, ch.15; in Bryce, James, Studies in History and Jurisprudence (Oxford: Clarendon, 1901), 823.

64. The restitution of conjugal rights still exists as a valid cause of action in Indian courts today. See Vatuk, Sylvia, “Muslim Women in the Indian Family Courts: A Report from Chennai,” in Divorce and Remarriage among Muslims in India, ed. Ahmad, Imtiaz (Delhi: Manohar, 2003), 145–46, 155; and Agnes, Flavia, “Hindu Conjugality: Transition from Sacrament to Contractual Obligations,” in Redefining Family Law in India: Essays in honor of B. Sivaramayya, ed. Sivaramayya, B., Parashar, Archana, and Dhanda, Amita (Delhi: Routledge, 2008), 240–49.

65. Another was the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which was the final court of appeal not only for cases from the colonies but also for appeals from the English ecclesiastical courts. As a result, judges named to the JCPC were occasionally products of the ecclesiastical court system. Two such appointees, who came to rule on controversial non-Christian religious questions in colonial appeals, were a father-and-son duo, the Lords Phillimore. See Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, s.v. Sir Robert Joseph Phillimore (1810–85) and Walter George Frank Phillimore (first Baron Phillimore) (1845–1929).

66. Dadaji v. Rukhmabai, I.L.R. 9 Bom. 529 (1885); I.L.R. 10 Bom. 301 (1886). See Chandra, Sudhir, Enslaved Daughters: Colonialism, Law and Women's Rights (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998), 73110; Anagol, Padma, The Emergence of Feminism in India, 1850–1920 (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005), 187–99, 237; and Agnes, “Hindu Conjugality,” 237–40.

67. Chandra, Enslaved Daughters, 160–200. See also Burton, Antoinette, “From Child Bride to ‘Hindoo Lady’: Rukhmabai and the Debate on Sexual Respectability in Imperial Britain,” American Historical Review 103 (4) (1998): 1119–46.

68. Early colonial suits for the restitution of conjugal rights also existed. See Anagol, Emergence of Feminism, 185–86.

69. For cases in which the courts seemed generally receptive, see Binda v. Kaunsilia, I.L.R. 13 All. 126 (1890); Bai Sari v. Sankla Hirachand, I.L.R. 16 Bom. 714 (1892); Fakirgauda v. Gangi, I.L.R. 23 Bom. 307 (1898); Surjyamoni Dasi v. Kali Kanta Das, I.L.R. 28 Cal. 37 (1900); the ruling of the Ahmedabad court of first instance in Bai Parwati, wife of Mansukh Jetha v. Ghanchi Mansukh Jetha, I.L.R. 44 Bom. 972 (1920); and Nina Dalal v. Merwanji Pherozeshah Dalal, I.L.R. 54 Bom. 877 (1930). Contrast with cases where the courts were less enthusiastic: Bombay High Court ruling in Bai Parwati; Lakshmi Ammal v. Venugopala Naidu, 1934 A.I.R. Mad. 407; Dhanjibhoy Bomanji v. Hirabai, I.L.R. 25 Bom. 644 (1901); Dular Koer v. Dwarkanath, I.L.R. 34 Cal. 971 (1907); Saravanai v. Poovayi, I.L.R. 28 Mad. 436 (1905); Babu Ram v. Musammat Kokla, I.L.R. 46 All. 210 (1923); and Bai Jivi v. Narsingh Lalbhai, I.L.R. 61 Bom. 329 (1927).

70. “Limitation Applicable to Suits for Restitution of Conjugal Rights,” B.L.R. (journal section), 8 (January 1907): 19–23.

71. Ten out of eighty-six complete cases (10.5 percent) included in the PCMC records were restitution of conjugal rights cases between 1893 and 1929. Unlike PCMC notebooks from later in the period 1891–1931, the earlier notebooks contain the judges' summing up to the delegates (essentially a jury of leading members of the Parsi community). For one judge's summing up on a restitution of conjugal rights case, including an overview of this general area of law in colonial India, see PCMC 1893–1903, I:31–35 (Suit No. 4 of 1893). For a lawyer's characterization of the same area of law (in the same suit and notebook), see II:39–42.

72. Nga Nwe v. Mi Su Ma, Selected Judgments and Rulings Lower Burma 391 (1886); Nga Chin Dat v. Mi Kin Pu, 2 Upper Burma Reports 1 (1907–9); and Ma Thein Nwe v. Maung Kha, I.L.R. 7 (Rang.) 451 (1929). All noted in Mootham, O. H., Burmese Buddhist Law (London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1939), 26.

73. As in the law of wills, domicile was a key sticking point in the colonial law of divorce. See comments by H. Monroe in Shabbir, Mohammad and Manchanda, S. C., Parsi Law in India (Allabahad: Law Book Company, 1991), v; and Lendrum v. Chakravarti, 100–103. See also note 20 and text accompanying note 57 (above).

74. Wadia v. Wadia, 142.

75. Ibid., 149.

76. Potential clients would meet Inverarity at Aden during his return voyages from Scotland to India with the hope of securing his services before others could approach him in Bombay (Ferreira, D. J., “Reminiscences,” in The Bombay Incorporated Law Society Centenary, 1894–1994 [Bombay: Bombay Incorporated Law Society, 1995], 260). On Inverarity as the premier advocate in Bombay, see Vachha, P. B., Famous Judges, Lawyers and Cases of Bombay: A Judicial History of Bombay during the British Period (Bombay: N. M. Tripathi, 1962), 139–44; Munshi, K. M., Bombay High Court: Half a Century of Reminiscences (Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1963), 67; and Strangman, Thomas, Indian Courts and Characters (London: William Heinemann, 1931), 3438. For extensive coverage of Inverarity's death, see also Bombay Law Journal I:7–8 (December 1923–January 1924), 361–69, and II:6 (November 1924), 322–27. On Strangman and Setalvad, see Strangman, Indian Courts, 21–22; and Setalvad, Motilal, My Life: Law and Other Things (London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1971).

77. See “No.7: Distribution of Population according to Religion (Census of 1911),” in Statistical Abstracts relating to British India from 1910-11 to 1919-20 (London: His Majesty's Stationary Office, 1922), (accessed February 10, 2008). For Baroda Parsi figures in the 1930s, see Datt, Indra, Baroda: A Study—Constitutional and Political (Lucknow: Srivastava, 1936), 1719.

78. See Imperial Gazetteer of India. New edition, published under the authority of His Majesty's Secretary of State for India in Council (Oxford: Clarendon, 1907–9), 7:49 (on agricultural improvements), 69 (on public works), 72–76 (on education); and Bhagavan, Manu, Sovereign Spheres: Princes, Education and Empire in Colonial India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003), 56, 47–56. Baroda was one of the first South Asian jurisdictions to allow Cornelia Sorabji, one of India's earliest female lawyers, to plead in its district courts. See Mossman, Mary Jane, The First Women Lawyers: A Comparative Study of Gender, Law and the Legal Professions (Oxford: Hart, 2006), 212.

79. On the panthaks, see Mirza, H. D. K., Outlines of Parsi History (Bombay: H. D. K. Mirza, 1987), 234–35; and Paymaster, R. B., Early History of the Parsees in India from Their Landing in Sanjan to 1700 (Bombay: Zartoshti Dharam Sambandhi Kelavni Apnari Ane Dnyan Felavnari Mandli, 1954), 105–6.

80. The PCMC records reveal that, as in other South Asian communities, married women typically left the marital home to stay with natal relations during times of marital breakdown, pregnancy, and childbirth. Some women even did so every month during menstruation. See, for example, PCMC 1893–1903, I:5 (Suit No. 4 of 1893) (menstruation); and PCMC 24-9-1903 to 14-3-1913, II:34 (Suit No.1 of 1904) (marital breakdown).

81. In one judicial separation case, a Parsi wife from Bombay told the court that her husband had “threatened to take me to Navsari and out of court jurisdiction” (PCMC 1928–9, II:43 [Suit No. 3 of 1927]).

82. For the testimony of Parsi cooks, see PCMC 1903–13, I:26 (Suit No. 9 of 1903), and II:93 (Suit No. 6 of 1910). For a case in which the “other man” was a Parsi carpenter who worked in a mill, see PCMC 1893–1903, II:92 (Suit No.1 of 1900). For the testimony of a Parsi taxi driver, see PCMC 1924–8, III:123 (Suit No. 5 of 1927). For instances of Parsi servants either referred to or giving testimony, see PCMC 1893–1903, I:130 (Suit No. 4 of 1894), I:154 (Suit No.1 of 1895), I:234 (Suit No. 1 of 1897), II:143 (Suit No. 1 of 1901), III:55 (Suit No. 2 of 1903); PCMC 1920–23, I:24 (Suit No. 6 of 1919); as well as PCMC 1928–29, I:105 (Suit No. 10 of 1928); and II:87 (Suit No. 3 of 1927). For the testimony of a Parsi railway ticket collector, see PCMC 1928–29, I:75 (Suit No. 6 of 1928). For examples of Parsis who were unable to take their case to court when they would have liked because they could not afford the legal expenses, see PCMC 1893–1903, I:86 (Suit No. 2 of 1894), I:41 (Suit No. 5 of 1903), III:8 (Suit No. 2 of 1901); PCMC 1928–29, I:29 (Suit No. 4 of 1928), and I:55 (Suit No. 2 of 1927). For a Parsi plaintiff who was unable to pay his legal fees even when he filed suit, but whom the court allowed to pay by monthly installment of Rs 10, see PCMC 1903–13, I:31 (Suit No. 3 of 1903).

83. No-fault divorce was not permitted under English law until the passage of the Divorce Reform Act 1971. In the United States, California pioneered no-fault divorce with the Family Law Act of 1969. By 1983, almost every state had adopted some form of the device. New York did so in 2010 (Stephanie Coontz, “Divorce, No-Fault Style,” New York Times [June 17, 2010]: A25).

84. Under section 2 of the UK Matrimonial Causes Act of 1973, a married person may petition the court for a divorce if (i) his or her spouse (the respondent) has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it “intolerable” to live with him or her; (ii) the spouse has “behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent”; (iii) the respondent has deserted the petitioner for two years; (iv) the couple has lived apart for two years and the respondent agrees to a divorce; or (v) the couple has lived apart for five years.

85. Indian Divorce Act 1869, sec.10, in Rattigan, Law of Divorce, 93.

86. On delegated talāq, see Ali, Syed Ameer, Mahommedan Law Compiled from Authorities in the Original Arabic (Calcutta: Thacker, Spink & Co., 1929), 2:495; and Sharafi, Mitra, “The Semi-Autonomous Judge in Colonial India: Chivalric Imperialism Meets Anglo-Islamic Dower and Divorce Law,” Indian Economic and Social History Review 46 (2009): 7274.

87. Saksena, Kashi Prasad, Muslim Law as Administered in British India (Allahabad: Rai Sahib Ram Dayal Agarwala, 1938), 327–28, 245–46.

88. Every couple appearing before the PCMC in divorce or judicial separation suits was asked if any of the “three Cs” were present, namely, “collusion, connivance or condonation.” Connivance and collusion referred to a secret agreement made between spouses for fraudulent purposes, namely, to obtain a fault-based divorce when proper grounds were absent. One judge explained the difference to PCMC delegates in a suit involving adultery: “connivance refers to what occurred before the adultery and collusion to what occurred after” (PCMC Notebook 1893–1903, II:48 [Suit No. 5 of 1898]). Condonation occurred when a spouse returned to the spouse at fault, legally negating the latter's earlier improper acts. For a case where the delegates found the couple to have colluded, see PCMC 1893–1903, II:44 (Suit No. 5 of 1898).

89. See The Parsee Marriage and Divorce Act 1865 (Act No XV of 1865): The Parsee Chattels Real Act (Act No. IX of 1837), The Parsee Succession Act (Act No. XXI of 1865) with an Appendix and Guzerattee Translation, ed. Sorabjee Shapoorjee Bengalee (Bombay: Parsee Law Association, 1868).

90. See explanation to section 30 in Framjee A. Rana, Parsi Law Embodying the Law of Marriage and Divorce and Inheritance and Succession Applicable to Parsis in British India (Bombay: A. B. Dubash at the Jam-e Jamshed Printing Works, 1934), 46. The asymmetrical requirements regarding adultery between husband and wife were equalized in the amended 1936 version of the statute, the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act 1936. See Aiyar, Law and Practice Relating to Marriages, 212–13; and Wadia, C. N. and Katpitia, S.P., The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act (India Act III of 1936) (Surat, India: J. G. Thakor, 1939).

91. Rana, Parsi Law, 45.

92. For the English legislation, see Matrimonial Causes Act 1857 (20 & 21 Vict. C. 85), sec. 27 (Rana, Parsi Law, 46). For the colonial law applicable to Christians, see the Indian Divorce Act 1869, sec. 10, in Rattigan, Law of Divorce, 93.

93. See Bengalee, Parsee Marriage and Divorce Act, 190.

94. PCMC 1903–13, II:94–95, 97 (Suit No. 6 of 1910).

95. Ibid., II:93.

96. Ibid., II:98–99.

97. Ibid., II:101.

98. Ibid., II:102.

99. Ibid., II:101.

100. PCMC 1893–1903, I:99 (Suit No. 4 of 1894).

101. Ibid., III:14 (Suit No. 2 of 1901).

102. Ibid., III:20–21 (Suit No. 2 of 1902).

103. Oppé, Wharton's Law Lexicon, 215.

104. See text accompanying note 57 (above).

105. PCMC 1903–13, II: 4 (Suit No. 6 of 1910).

106. The man told the court he earned Rs 15 per month (PCMC 1893–1903, I:101 (Suit No. 4 of 1894]). This was equivalent to the monthly pay of a bachelor's personal manservant during roughly the same period. See Norman Macleod, “Reminiscences from 1894 to 1914,” HRA/D63/A5, 38 (1900), in Macleod of Cadboll Papers (HCA).

107. The figure of Jehangir B. Boman Behram, a Parsi solicitor, emerges from the matrimonial court records as an informal mediator in marital disputes within the community. See, for instance, PCMC 1913–20, I:100, 107 (Suit No. 3 of 1914); 1928–29, II:137, 139, 150–51, 167, 170, 175 (Suit No. 3 of 1927). See generally Who's Who in India and Ceylon (Poona, India: Sun Publishing House, 1937), 314–15.

108. The foreword to the definitive treatise on the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act 1865 contains veiled criticism of the fault-based divorce scheme, but in the most oblique of terms. See B. J. Wadia, “Foreword,” in Rana, Parsi Law, (unnumbered).

109. For an example of a judgment quickly adopted as culturally authoritative in the Parsi community (the Parsi Panchayat case of 1908), see Sharafi, Mitra, “Judging Conversion to Zoroastrianism: Behind the Scenes of the Parsi Panchayat Case (1908),” in Parsis in India and the Diaspora, ed. Hinnells, John R. and Williams, Alan (London: Routledge Curzon, 2007), 159–80. I take the prevalence of Parsi eminent domain suits against the colonial state to be another indication of Parsi confidence in the colonial legal system—especially because Parsi plaintiffs usually lost. See Mitra Sharafi, “Bella's Case: Parsi Identity and the Law in Colonial Rangoon, Bombay and London, 1887–1925” (PhD diss., Princeton University, 2006), 401–2.

110. Karaka, Dosabhai Framji, History of the Parsis including Their Manners, Customs, Religion and Present Position (London: Macmillan, 1884), 1:30.

111. On Parsi involvement in the euphemistically named “China trade,” see Karaka, History of the Parsis, 2:245; “Papeti,” Deccan Herald and Daily Telegraph, September 12, 1914, 4; Strangman, Indian Courts, 28; Darukhanawala, H. D., Parsi Lustre on Indian Soil (Bombay: Claridge, 1939), 508–10; and Thampi, Madhavi and Saksena, Shalini, China and the Making of Bombay (Mumbai: K. R. Cama Institute, 2010).

112. See Harris, F. R., Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata: A Chronicle of his Life (London: Oxford University Press, 1925), 280; Karkaria, R. P., “A Great Parsi. The Late Mr Jamshedji N. Tata. An Appreciation,” The Parsi I (1) (1905): 1013; Darukhanawala, Parsi Lustre, 432–33; and Guha, Amalendu, “More about the Parsi Seths: Their Roots, Entrepreneurship, and Comprador Role, 1650–1918,” in Business Communities of India: A Historical Perspective, ed. Tripathi, Dwijendra (Delhi: Manohar, 1984), 143.

113. See, for instance, Rai, Saritha, “Tata Steel buying Corus for $12 Billion,” New York Times, January 31, 2007; and Sengupta, Somini, “Indians Hit the Road Amid Elephants,” New York Times, January 11, 2008.

114. Kulke, Eckehard, The Parsees of India: A Minority as Agent of Social Change (Munich: Weltgorum, 1974), 1:5590. Census totals for Iranis in India in 1931 and 1941 were 4,000 to 5,000 (Kulke, Parsees of India, 35).

115. Persian racial purity was a key concept in the writings of Parsi eugenicists of the early twentieth century. See Vimadalal, J. J., Racial Intermarriages: Their Scientific Aspect (Bombay: The Times Press, 1922); and Desai, Sapur Faredun, Parsis and Eugenics (Bombay: Sapur Faredun Desai, 1940). Libel suits turning upon accusations of racial impurity also arose between Parsis. See Sharafi, “Bella's Case,” 290–354.

116. See “XIX. August 31, 1910. Western Civilization and the Parsees. From ‘Faith in Honest Doubt,’” in Mr. Vimadalal and the Juddin Question (Bombay: Crown, 1910), 49; Dhalla, M. N., Dastur Dhalla: The Saga of a Soul. An Autobiography of Shams-ul-Ulama Dastur Dr. Maneckji Nusserwanji Dhalla, High Priest of the Parsis of Pakistan, trans. Gool, and Rustomji, Behram Sohrab H. J. (Karachi: Dhalla Memorial Institute, 1973), 724, 726; and Kulke, Parsees of India, 35.

117. On one Bombay Irani teahouse established in 1923 that is still in operation today, see Renzulli, Melanie Mize, “Rule, Britannia! Iran Meets India at the Heart of Mumbai,” Saveur 94 (2007): 1718.

118. For a history of the Iranis, albeit semantic in focus, see the judgment of Parsi judge Mody in Jamshed A. Irani v. Banu J. Irani, 68 B.L.R. 794–809 (1960).

119. See, for example, Coyajee, Jehangir, “A Brief Life-Sketch of the Late Mr. Dinshah Jeejeebhoy Irani, Neshan-e Elmi, Solicitor,” in Dinshah Irani Memorial Volume. Papers on Zoroastrian and Iranian Subjects. Contributed by Various Scholars in Honor of the Late Mr. Dinshah Jijibhoy Irani, BA, LLB, Solicitor, Nishan-I Elmi (Iran) (Bombay: Dinshah J. Irani Memorial Committee, 1943), vivii.

120. PCMC 1920–23, I:17–24 (Suit No. 6 of 1919).

121. Ibid., I:17, 21. The Irani husband spoke only a little Persian, which suggests that he was not born in Persia (ibid., I:22).

122. Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act 1865, sec. 4–5, annotated in Rana, Parsi Law, 27–29; and Bengalee, Parsee Marriage and Divorce Act, iii.

123. PCMC 1920–23, I:18–19.

124. Ibid., I:17.

125. Ibid., I:21–22.

126. Ibid., I:22.

127. Ibid., I:19–20, 22.

128. Ibid., I:18–19.

129. See Saksena, Muslim Law, 237–40.

130. See, for example, Hogg, James Edward, Deeds Registration: A Treatise on the Law of Registration of Documents affecting Land under the Registration of Deeds Act of Australasia, with References to Analagous Statutes and Cases on Them in England, Ireland, Canada, West Indies, Ceylon, Straits Settlements, etc. (London: Stevens and Sons, 1908). On the Torrens land registration system, pioneered in Australia in 1857, see Simpson, S. R., Land Law and Registration (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), 6871, 80–83. On the land registration system of colonial Fiji (modeled on the Torrens system), see Riles, Annelise, “Law as Object,” in Law and Empire in the Pacific: Fiji and Hawaii, ed. Merry, Sally Engle and Brenneis, Donald (Sante Fe, N.M.: School of American Research Press, 2003), 198204. On debates over the registration of Kandyan marriages in Ceylon in 1869, see Digby, William, Forty Years of Official and Unofficial Life in an Oriental Crown Colony, Being the Life of Sir Richard F. Morgan (Madras: Higginbotham, 1879), 2:6677. The registration of infant births and deaths played an important role in providing plaintiff husbands seeking divorce with definitive evidence of their estranged wives' adultery. The registration of marriages helped husbands and wives in divorce proceedings give proof of their spouses' bigamy. These government registers were open for public inspection (see Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1865, sec. 8, annotated in Rana, Parsi Law, 31). See PCMC Notebook 1893–1903, I:38 (Suit No. 5 of 1893); I:105 (Suit No. 4 of 1894); and II:49 (Suit No. 5 of 1898). A Zoroastrian priest officiating at a Parsi marriage was required by law to sign a certificate of marriage and send it—upon penalty of up to a year's imprisonment or a fine—to the appropriate registrar of Parsi Marriages, who in turn conveyed it to the registrar-general of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1865, sec. 6–14, annotated in Rana, Parsi Law, 29–34).

131. Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code laid out the penalty for bigamy: “Whoever, having a husband or wife living, marries in any case in which such marriage is void by reason of its taking place during the life of such husband or wife, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.” For commentary, see Ranchhoddas and Thakore, Indian Penal Code, 435–40.

132. PCMC 1920–23, I:17, 21.

133. The Irani husband had only basic reading and writing ability in Gujarati (probably his mother tongue), and almost none in Persian (PCMC 1920–23, I:18, 24 (Suit No. 6 of 1919)).

134. See note 107 (above).

135. The same phenomenon occurs in the comparison between English and American law today. Old English legal terms and devices like felonies, misdemeanors, and the Statute of Frauds no longer exist in English law but thrive in many U.S. jurisdictions.

136. Testimony of D. E. Patel, PCMC 1903–13 (Suit No. 6 of 1910), II:99. Burma and Ceylon also had traditions of divorce by consent before (and during) British rule. See Maung, Maung, Law and Custom in Burma and the Burmese Family (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1963), 72; and Digby, Forty Years, 2:66–77. Divorce by consent was also customary practice among certain lower caste Hindu communities, despite the impossibility of divorce in classical Hindu law (Rana, Parsi Law, 49).

137. Admittedly, the comparison is a loose one: Baroda's rulers cultivated the image of a progressive and well-run princely state, whereas Nevada was more often characterized as wild and lawless. However, the effect of the no-fault divorce regime in both places was the same: it acted as a magnet for couples from neighboring jurisdictions in search of a no-fuss divorce. Other U.S. states had played a similar role before Nevada (see Hartog, Man and Wife,14). Aligning Baroda with Connecticut, Indiana, or South Dakota may have been equally (or more) apt. For comments likening South Asian and U.S. marital regimes and practices in the early twentieth century, see Wadia, A. R., The Ethics of Feminism: A Study of the Revolt of Women (Delhi: Asian Publication Services India, 1977), 149. See also George Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 166 (1879).

138. Henry Maine argued that societies evolve from being status-based, where people are born into certain categories that they cannot change, to being contract-based, in which individuals have the power to set their own relationships, obligations, and entitlements. See Maine, Henry Sumner, Ancient Law: Its Connections with the Early History of Society and its Relation to Modern Ideas (London: John Murray, 1887). For examples of the judicial promotion of a freedom-of-contract ideology, see Ibrahim Saib v. Muni Mir Udin Saib, Madras High Court Reports 26 (1870); and Nagalutchmee Ummal v. Gopoo Nadaraja Chetty et al., 6 Moore's I. A. 309 (1854–57).

139. Many Parsi Chief Matrimonial Court suits were reported in the press. See, for example, “Parsi Matrimonial Court,” Times of India, July 5, 1910, 4; and “High Court Matrimonial Suit Withdrawn,” Advocate of India, April 12, 1911, 7. PCMC suits could be held in camera at the request of either party, according to section 38 of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act 1865. However, even when held behind closed doors, the outcome of such cases could be reported in the press. See PCMC 1903–13, II:81 (Suit No. 1 of 1906).

140. Although the Bombay couple's case was resolved out of court, their Baroda divorce would not have been recognized by British Indian law. See PCMC 1903–13, II:101.

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