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Void and Voidable Marriages

What Are Void and Voidable Marriages?

Marriages that are in violation of Sections 5 (i), (iv), and (v) of the Hindu Marriage Act is called void marriages, and they are declared null and void since the beginning.
Marriages that are voidable are those that are in violation of the grounds specified in Section 12 and such marriages may be annulled by the Court if the prerequisites of section 12 are met.

The Explanation Of Void And Voidable Marriages:

  • Section 11: On the request of the parties, marriages that violate Section 5 (i), (iv), and (v) of the Hindu Marriage Act shall be declared null and void since the beginning.
  • Section 12: Section 12 of the HMA is divided into two parts. These provisions are explained in simple language:
     

Part 1 of Section 12 any marriage performed before or after the enactment of this Act is revocable and may be dissolved by a declaration of nullity on any of the grounds specified below:

  1. The respondent's impotence prevented the marriage from being consummated;
  2. The condition set forth in clause (ii) of section 5 was violated in the marriage; or
  3. The petitioner's or guardian's consent was obtained by force or fraud; or
  4. The respondent was pregnant by someone other than the petitioner at the time of the marriage.

Part 2 of Section 12: Regardless of everything in Part 1, no annulment of marriage petition:

  1. The following grounds are permissible under clause (c) of subsection (1):
    1. If the petition is filed more than one year after the force ceased to exist or, as the case may be after the fraud was discovered;
    2. The petitioner has lived as husband or wife with the other party to the marriage with his or her valid consent after the force ceased to act or, as the case may be.
       
  2. Must not be considered unless the court is satisfied on the grounds set forth in sub-section (d) (1).
    1. At the time of the marriage, the petitioner was uninformed of the circumstances asserted;
    2. In the case of a marriage solemnized before the enactment of this Act, proceedings were started within one year of the enactment of the Act, and in the case of marriages solemnized after the start of this Act, proceedings were enactment within one year of the date of the marriage; and
    3. Since the petitioner learned the presence of 15 years of age, no marital intercourse has taken place with the petitioner's agreement.
    4. At the time of marriage, the husband's omission to reveal his age and the fact that he has major children constituted fraud and concealment of material facts affecting the marriage.
    5. The age of the bridegroom was misrepresented to the mother acting as an agent, and the daughter consented to the marriage believing the statement to be accurate.

Who Can Seek The Annulment?

After meeting the conditions of the sections invoked, the only aggrieved parties can be husband or wife.

Where Can The Annulment Be Sought?

An annulment of marriage can be sought in District Court by either the husband or the wife. Either of the parties can invoke the jurisdiction of the Principal Judge of the Family Court under Section 19 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

Every petition under Section 19 of the HMA must be filed in the Family Court of the original civil jurisdiction where:
  • the marriage was performed;
  • the respondent's place of residence;
  • the parties' last place of residence; and
  • if the petitioner is the wife, the address where she is living at the time the petition is filed.

Procedure and Steps:
  • Step 1: Petitioner files petition;
  • Step 2: Respondent files reply;
  • Step 3: Petitioner's evidence;
  • Step 4: Respondent's evidence
  • Step 5: The parties' arguments;
  • Step 6: The Trial Court's Judgment and Decree.
References:

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