Annulment of Marriage
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Annulment of marriage is moved on certain grounds specified in various matrimonial laws. Section 12 of the Hindu Marriage Act lays down the grounds on which petition for annulment can be filed.
There are four broad grounds for annulment of marriage in India. They are explained below.
This ground of annulment of marriage is available to either of the spouse to present the petition. Husband or wife can initiate the petition for annulment against the other. Two conditions are required to be met for the purpose. They are :-
Firstly, Marriage has not been consummated
Secondly, Husband or wife is impotent.
Section 5 (ii) of the Hindu Marriage Act lays down three situations or grounds on which annulment can be sought. Such ground and conditions are when marriage had taken place when both parties were
incapable of giving a valid consent to it in consequence of unsoundness of mind
Suffering from mental disorder
subject to recurrent attacks of insanity
In this case, party seeking annulment has to provide either of the following:
Consent to the marriage has been obtained by fraud
Fraud committed by the Respondent as to the nature of ceremony of marriage or any material fact or circumstances concerning the Respondent.
Law prescribes time limitation in proceeding with the annulment of marriage on the ground of fraud. Such annulment petition has to be filed with in one year of the discovery of the fraud committed by the Respondent.
Illustration: A represents her age to be 24 years to B. B proceed for the marriage. After about six months of marriage, B came to know that the real age of the A is 30 years and not 24 years. Now, B has to file the petition for annulment of marriage within one year of such disclosure. Thereupon, family court will decide the issue wether there was such misrepresentation. The test is had B been aware of actual age of the A at the time of marriage, would he had given the consent for marriage. This is material fact concerning A.
Once a petitioner is successful in proving its case, marriage is declared null and void. Resultantly, the court considers that the marriage has not taken place at all and the tag of the ‘divorcee‘ is not attached. Annulment of marriage is very important in the scheme of matrimonial laws as there is no point in carrying the burden of divorce in cases where marriage has been solemnized on the strength of fraud or where the marriage is solemnized despite the fact that the responding spouse was already married.
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