Sowmia vs Rahul Sathyanathan on 7 August, 2017

The case of Sowmia vs. Rahul Sathyanathan, decided on August 7, 2017, by the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam, addresses a transfer petition in a matrimonial dispute. The petitioner, Sowmia, sought the transfer of a divorce case filed by her husband, Rahul Sathyanathan, from the Family Court in Thiruvananthapuram to the Family Court in Ottapalam. The hearing was presided over by Justice A. Hariprasad.


Sowmia, the petitioner, filed a transfer petition to move the divorce proceedings initiated by her husband, Rahul Sathyanathan, from the Family Court in Thiruvananthapuram to the Family Court in Ottapalam. Sowmia argued that she resides within the jurisdiction of the Family Court in Ottapalam, making it more convenient for her to attend the proceedings there. Additionally, she had already filed a case in Ottapalam for the return of gold ornaments and other valuables against Rahul.

Key Arguments

Petitioner’s Arguments

Sowmia, represented by Advocate Mini V.A., argued that she is a resident of Pattambi, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Family Court in Ottapalam. She contended that attending court proceedings in Thiruvananthapuram would cause significant inconvenience. Sowmia also presented a marriage invitation as evidence to support her claim of residence within the Ottapalam jurisdiction.

Respondent’s Arguments

Rahul Sathyanathan, represented by Advocate Biju Balakrishnan, opposed the transfer petition. He argued that Sowmia and her father are permanently residing in Chennai, where she is employed. According to Rahul, the petitioner did not have a permanent address within the jurisdiction of the Family Court in Ottapalam, and therefore, the transfer request should be denied.

Court’s Observations

Justice A. Hariprasad considered the arguments from both parties. The court acknowledged the evidence provided by Sowmia, including the marriage invitation indicating her family residence in Ottapalam. The court also noted the practical difficulties Rahul might face in attending court proceedings in Ottapalam on all posting dates.

Court’s Decision

The High Court allowed the transfer petition, directing that O.P.No.2061 of 2016 pending before the Family Court in Thiruvananthapuram be transferred to the Family Court in Ottapalam. The court ordered that the transferred case be tried along with O.P.No.649 of 2016, which was already pending in Ottapalam. Additionally, the Family Court in Ottapalam was instructed to permit Rahul to seek exemption from personal appearance on all posting dates, ensuring a fair trial process.


The High Court of Kerala’s decision in Sowmia vs. Rahul Sathyanathan emphasizes the importance of practical convenience and fairness in legal proceedings. By transferring the case to a jurisdiction more accessible to the petitioner and allowing the respondent to seek exemptions from personal appearances, the court aimed to balance the logistical challenges faced by both parties. This case highlights the judiciary’s role in ensuring that justice is served efficiently and equitably, accommodating the needs of all involved.


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