Void and Voidable marriage
Before, the enactment of the Act,1955, the term nullity of marriage didn’t exist in Hindu law, although some relief in respect of marriage could be obtained under general law.
Under the Hindu marriage act, 1955 matrimonial reliefs have been introduced for all Hindus. The act recognizes the following four matrimonial reliefs:
Nullity of Marriage- Void and Voidable marriages.
- Judicial Separation
- Dissolution of Marriage- Divorce.
- Restitution of Conjugal Rights
Section 11 lays down that any marriage solemnized after the commencement of this act shall be null and void and may be declared so by a court on the presentation of the petition of either party against the other. If any of the three conditions specified in clauses 1, 4 & 5 of section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 is violated then the court can pass a decree of nullity declaring it to be void.
Grounds of Void Marriage-
- (1) neither party has a spouse living at the time of the marriage;(Iswar Singh v. Hukum Kaur- 1964 All, Husband permits his wife to marry—-
- (2) the parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits marriage between the two
- (3) the parties are not Sapinda of each other unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits marriage between the two
- Non-fulfillment of any one of the aforesaid conditions renders a marriage null and void. Section 11 provides that such marriage shall be null and void
Meaning of void marriage: A void marriage is a marriage that doesn’t exist from its beginning it is called marriage because two persons have undergone the ceremonies of marriage. Since they cannot marry they cannot, by just undergoing ceremonies become husband and wife.
Consequences of a void marriage
The parties have no status of wife and husband
Children of a void marriage are illegitimate (this is subject to the provision of section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955).
A void marriage doesn’t give rise to mutual rights and obligations
A marriage that can be annulled or avoided at the option of one or both parties is known as a voidable marriage. Section 12 of the Hindu Marriage Act contains relevant provisions of Voidable Marriage. This section lays down four grounds on which a Hindu marriage becomes voidable. These are:
The inability of the respondent to consummate the marriage on account of his or her impotency.
Respondent’s incapacity to consent or suffering from a mental disorder.
Consent of the petitioner being obtained by fraud or force.
Concealment of Pre-marriage pregnancy by the respondent