VOIDABLE MARRIAGES (SECTION 12 OF THE HMA , 1955)

by | Dec 9, 2023

INTRODUCTION

The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 introduces the concept of Voidable Marriages, a legal category where a marriage is initially valid but can be annulled under specific circumstances. This article provides an in-depth exploration of Voidable Marriages, focusing on the definition, relevant section, and essential elements in the context of Indian family law.

UNDERSTANDING VOIDABLE MARRIAGES

  • Definition and Initial Validity

Voidable Marriages, as per the Hindu Marriage Act,1955 maintain their validity until declared void by a competent court. These marriages can be annulled based on certain grounds, offering parties the option to nullify the union. If the option is exercised, the marriage is treated as if it never occurred; otherwise, it remains legally valid.

GROUNDS FOR VOIDABLE MARRIAGES (SECTION 12)

  • IMPOTENCY (SECTION 12(1)(A)

Definition and Scope:

  • Impotency, covering physical, psychological, or emotional inability for sexual intercourse, renders a marriage voidable under Section 12(1)(a).
  • Accusations must be supported by relevant facts and proofs, preventing baseless claims.
  • CONTRAVENTION OF SECTION 5(II)

Incapacity for Consent:

  • Marriage becomes voidable if either party, due to unsoundness of mind, cannot provide valid consent.
  • Mental disorders affecting procreation or recurring insanity attacks also constitute grounds for voidability.
  • CONSENT OBTAINED BY COERCION OR DECEPTION

Invalid Consent:

  • Voidable Marriages arise when consent is secured through force or fraud, encompassing physical force, threats, or misrepresentation.
  • Section 12(1)(c) includes cases where the guardian’s consent is obtained by force or fraud, aligning with the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929.
  • CONCEALMENT OF PRE-MARRIAGE PREGNANCY

Grounds and Requirements:

  • Voidability occurs if the respondent conceals pre-marriage pregnancy.
  • Conditions include the respondent being pregnant at the time of marriage, being pregnant by someone else, and the petitioner’s unawareness.

NECESSARY CONDITIONS FOR NULLITY (SECTION 12)

  • Filing a Petition

1.Timely Filing:

  • On fraud or force grounds, a petition should be filed within a year of discovering such occurrences.
  • Allegations prompting the petition should be beyond the petitioner’s knowledge during marriage.

2.Presentation of Petition:

  • The petition, based on the alleged facts, must be presented within a year of acquiring knowledge.
  • No sexual relationship should be established after learning about the alleged facts.

LEGITIMACY OF CHILDREN UNDER VOIDABLE MARRIAGES (SECTION 16)

  1. Void Marriage Legitimacy:
  • Children born in a void marriage are treated as legitimate.
  1. Voidable Marriage Legitimacy:
  • Children born in a marital relationship subsequently declared null by the court are deemed legitimate.

3.Exception for Pre-marriage Pregnancy:

  • Children born after the marriage, conceived before but born afterward, are legitimate.
  • An illustrative example clarifies the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate children in such scenarios.

EXCEPTION TO VOID AND VOIDABLE MARRIAGE (SECTION 5(III))

  • Age Requirement:
  • Section 5(iii) mandates that the groom be 21 years old, and the bride be 18 years old at the time of marriage.
  • Section 18 outlines punishment for contravention, emphasizing the legal significance of age requirements.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the concept of Voidable Marriages holds significant weight in Indian family law. Section 12 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, meticulously outlines the grounds for declaring a marriage voidable. Understanding the essential elements and timely conditions for nullity is crucial for determining the legal status of marriages. The examination of landmark cases related to voidable marriages provides clarity on various legal aspects. This understanding is paramount to navigate family law complexities, ensuring the protection of the rights and interests of all parties involved.

REFERENCE

1-https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/children-from-void-voidable-marriages-are-legitimate-can-claim-rights-in-parents-properties-sc/article67259229.ece/amp/ -THE HINDU

2-https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-reserves-verdict-on-whether-children-from-invalid-and-voidable-marriages-can-inherit-parents-ancestralproperty/article67209826.ece/amp/ -THE HINDU

3-https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/mans-consent-for-marriage-taken-by-fraud-says-bombay-hc/amp_articleshow/95088353.cms -THE TIMES OF INDIA

 

 

 

 

Written By Archana Singh

I am Archana Singh, a recent law master's graduate with a strong aspiration for the judicial service. My passion lies in elucidating complex legal concepts, disseminating legal news, and enhancing legal awareness. I take immense pride in introducing my new legal website - The LawGist. Through my meticulously crafted blogs and articles, I aim to empower individuals with comprehensive legal insights. My unwavering dedication is to facilitate a profound comprehension of the law, enabling people to execute judicious and well-informed choices.

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