Nullity of marriage

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Question From: Family Law

I am not happy with my wife and I want to end our relationship. I heard about nullity of marriage if husband is not happy. Am I right and if so please advice to end my relationship and nullify my marriage. 

On the fulfillment of certain conditions Hindu marriage becomes null and void. Parties to the marriage can file petition towards annulment of their marriage. Provisions towards nullity of marriage are given in section 12 Hindu Marriage Act (HMA). Requirements of a valid marriage is mentioned in section 5 of HMA.

The law of nullity depends upon existence of some pre-marriage impediments. Hindu law divides these impediments into two categorie.

  • Absolute impediments
  • Relative impediments

Marriage becomes void ab initio on the existence of absolute impediments. This marriage is invalid from the very beginning so it is called void marriage. According to section 5 of HMA these are the ground of void marriage.

  • At the time of marriage either party has a spouse living (Bigamous marriage) 
  • The parties are sapinda to each other. 
  • The parties are within the prohibited degree of relationship.

No legal consequences flow from the void marriage, parties to the marriage are free to solemnize another marriage because they are not treated as husband and wife. It does not matter in the void marriage that all the valid ceremonies are performed at the time of marriage or marriage is registered under section 8 of HMA.

In the existence of relative impediments a marriage is voidable. However voidable marriage is perfectly valid till the petition filed by either party for annulment of marriage under section 12 of HMA. If no petition is filed then marriage has these effects.

  • It confers upon parties as status of husband and wife. 
  • Children out of this marriage are legitimate. 
  • All other mutual and legal rights like inheritance, maintenance, succession etc  arise from it.

Parties to the marriage may file petition for annulment on these grounds.

  • Inability of respondent to give consent or suffering from mental disorder. 
  • Inability of respondent to consummate the marriage on account of his or her impotency. 
  • Concealment of pre marriage pregnancy by the respondent. 
  • Consent of the parties being obtained by fraud or force.

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