Marriage is an important institution of human society. In the remote past of human History, man was living and behaving like an animal. Then he was hardly even aware of his relationships to his parents, brother and sisters. In the Biological kingdom, this primitive man was even subordinate in status to the animals. Neither did he have the strength of an elephant nor the sharp teeth and claws of the carnivore. He did not even have the hard protective hide of the rhinoceros and could not save his life by any other extraordinary physical capability. Nevertheless, he did possess the unique human instinct of cooperation and organization, with the help of which, he could dominate over the animals besides protecting and proliferating his own species. But in spite of this natural trait, in absence of permanent arrangements for housing, food and clothes, the primitive man was living in small groups, in large caves and on trees. Since in those days the institution of family had not come into existence, the relation between man and woman was different from what it is today, in modern times. Then, all women members of the community were being treated as common sexual partners and their progenies regarded as children of the community. According to a reference in Mahabharat, analyzing the problems of this system, a social reformer named Shwet Ketu proposed and established the institution of marriage from which evolved the present set of family. Nullity Of Marriage A marriage may be declared null and void to the effect that the marriage will be regarded as not having taken place ab initio. On the other hand, a marriage may be voidable and will subsist until a decree annulling it has been pronounced by a court. The distinction is crucial: if the marriage is void, no valid marriage existed; whereas, if the marriage is voidable, it is valid and recognised at law until it is brought to an end by a decree of nullity. A decree of nullity is a statement to the effect that the marriage in question never existed, i.e. the marriage is and has always been null and void. The law of nullity relates to the Pre-marriage impediments to the marriage and is related to capacity to marry. If there are certain impediments parties cannot marry each other. If they still marry, marriage may not be valid. These impediments can be divided into 2 categories.

2. A marriage which is solemnized in violation of provisions of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act. 3. 2. On this basis marriages can be divided into 2 kinds: 1. 2.1. In respect of a void marriage no decree of court is necessary. A void marriage does not give rise to mutual rights and obligation. Grounds of Void Marriage: Section 11 of the Act lays down that any marriage solemnized after the commencement of the Act. That the marriage is not solemnized according to the customary rites and ceremonies as provided by section 7 of the Act. Apart from section 11 declaring a marriage void. The first marriage must be a valid marriage. Hindu Marriage Act 1955) A void marriage is no-marriage. (iv) and (v) of section 5 is void. These conditions are: 1. That the parties are not Hindus. . Voidable marriages: Section 12 Void Marriage (Section-11. 3. Relative Impediments: The marriage is voidable which may be avoided by one of the parties if he or she desires. Absolute Impediments: The marriage will be void ab initio. Neither party has a spouse living at the time of marriage. Void marriages: Section 11 2. is declared void under Sections 12 and 14 of the Act. These parties are not within the prohibited degree of relationship. It is a marriage which does not exist from its beginning. in contravention of any of the conditions in clauses (i). 2006. The parties are not spinda to each other. It is called a marriage because two persons have undergone the ceremonies of marriage. a marriage may be declared void on following grounds: 1. A void marriage confers no status of legitimacy and therefore children of void marriage are illegitimate.

petition must be presented within 1 year of the commencement of the Act. consent of the petitioner was obtained by fraud or force. . The burden of proof is on the petitioner who alleges premarriage pregnancy of the wife. vasectomy operation before marriage. 2. In Baldev Raj V Urmila Kumari AIR 1999 SC. Fraud relates to ceremonies/facts. Thirdly. Nature of ceremony. are some of the grounds of fraud. the petitioner must not have lived with the respondent as husband or wife with his or her consent. A voidable marriage is a perfectly valid marriage so long as it is not avoided. if the marriage is Pre-Act marriage. A voidable marriage can be avoided only on the petition of one of the parties to the marriage Grounds of Voidable Marriage: 1. a child was born after 7 months of marriage and the evidence of the doctor that pregnancy had started somewhere 2 months before marriage the evidence was held sufficient to hold the ground. Educational qualification. If the marriage is Post-Act marriage the petition should be filed within one year of marriage. pre-marriage status.Voidable Marriage (Section-12. Hindu Marriage Act 1955) A voidable marriage is a legal marriage that can be cancelled at the option of one of the parties and it is subject to cancellation if contested in court. 1872. Fraud has same meaning as given in Section 17 of Indian Contract Act. mental defect. concealment of religion or caste. the marriage is voidable. Pre-marriage pregnancy of the wife: If the wife was pregnant before marriage from a person other than the petitioner who did not know of the pregnancy. But for this. Secondly. past conduct and financial status of the parties. concealment of identity. Consent obtained by Fraud or Force: The requirements of this ground are: First. No marital intercourse should take place with the consent of petitioner after the discovery of pregnancy. the petition must be presented within 1 year of the discovery of fraud or cessation of force.

The section as amended by the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act. y The parties to a void marriage may perform another marriage without a decree of court but the parties to a voidable marriage will be guilty of bigamy if they contract another marriage. recurrent attacks of insanity. y There is no right of inheritance of the parties to a void marriage but in the case of a voidable marriage. lays down that the children of annulled voidable marriages and children of void marriages (whether declared void or not) are legitimate children. y A void marriage does not give the status of husband & wife to the parties and mutual rights and duties do not arise but in case of voidable marriage status of husband & wife and mutual rights and duties arise. the other will inherit.5(ii) which includes soundness of mind and incapacity to give a valid consent. . Children of Void and Voidable Marriages Section 16. then such children will continue to be illegitimate. this confers a status of legitimacy on those void marriages which are void under Section 11. 4. whether the marriage was declared null and void or not.3. Unsoundness of mind: As explained in Section. such as on account of lack of proper ceremonies. Difference between Void and Voidable Marriages y A void marriage is void ab initio but a voidable marriage becomes void when one party seeks matrimonial relief by a petition in a court. the children of a void marriage were illegitimate. If the marriage is void for any other reason. Hindu Marriage Act. Impotency: Inability of the respondent to consummate marriage is also a ground of voidable marriage.According to the original notion. it is a voidable marriage. if a party dies. However. and children of voidable marriage became illegitimate when marriage was annulled. 1976. If the marriage has not been consummated due to impotency of either party.

The object of this remedy of judicial separation is that in any case where the petitioner has a good ground of getting divorce. Section 10 of the Hindu Marriage Act.. Before the amendment of this section in 1976. unsoundness of mind and extra marital sexual intercourse. on the application of either party. it provided judicial separation on six grounds viz.. but the Court may. venereal disease. provides for relief of judicial separation. he/she may seek the lesser relief of judicial separation in order to enable himself/herself to live away from the erring spouse with fond hopes that the other spouse would realise his/her mistake by passage of time and which may consequently result in his/her coming back to live with him/her.. not enabling the parties to remarry. divorce from bed and bread. it shall no longer be obligatory on the petitioner to cohabit with the respondent. the marriage was regarded by the Church as a sacrament which made it impossible to obtain a divorce µa vinculo matrimonii¶. dissolving the marriage tie. i. with a possibility of re-uniting and living together again if circumstances subsequently change. By the amendment in 1976 all these grounds of judicial separation were made grounds of divorce under section13(1) of the Act. i.e. divorce dissolving the marriage absolutely. before the Reformation.JUDICIAL SEPARATION Under English Law. desertion. .e. rescind the decree after being satisfied that it is just and reasonable to do so. This remedy of divorce a mensa et thoro is not divorce.e. This remedy now is called judicial separation which allows the parties to live separate from each other. The amended section now does not give any separate grounds on which this remedy can be sought but sub-section (1) says that an application for judicial separation may be presented on any of the grounds specified in section 13(1) and in case of the wife also on any of the grounds specified in section 13(2) of the Act Sub-section (2) of section 10 provides that after the passing of the decree of judicial separation. Object of remedy. the ecclesiastical courts granted µdivorcium a mensa et thoro¶. without dissolution of marriage tie. In the case of marriage validly contracted. i. cruelty. leprosy.

pass instead decree for judicial separation. yet she may also not like to live with her husband. On the other hand. Divorce puts the marriage to an end. and are free to go their own ways. if the separation of the parties does not result in resumption of cohabitation within the prescribed period (one year). after a decree of dissolution of marriage. she may live separate from her husband and claim maintenance from him. a Hindu wife may live separately and claim maintenance from her husband.After the amendment of the section in 1976. on a petition for divorce. Judicial Separation and Separate Residence and Maintenance Section 18(2). Thirdly. marriage comes to an end. All mutual obligation and rights of husband and wife cease. Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. Difference between Judicial Separation and Divorce Judicial separation is different from divorce. all the grounds mentioned in section 13(1) are also grounds on which the remedy of judicial separation can be sought. under section 13A of the Act. There remain no bond between them except in relation to section 25 (maintenance and alimony) and section 26 (custody. In such a case. 1956 provides that on certain grounds.Secondly. 1956. the marriage may be taken to be broken down and under section 13(1A)(i) either party can seek divorce on this ground. parties cease to be husband and wife. After divorce parties are free to remarry. In a given case a wife may not like to obtain a decree for judicial separation. if a ground is available to her under section 18(2). It may also be that no ground of judicial separation is available to her. parties continue to be husband and wife. This provision is different and distinct from judicial separation. Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act. judicial separation merely suspends marital rights and obligation during the period of subsistence of the decree. In short. having regard to the circumstances. the Court may. These grounds are: . Grounds Of Judicial Separation. maintenance and education of children).

confers power on the Court to rescind the decree of judicial separation on application by either party if it considers it just and reasonable to do so.Sub-section (2) of section 10.Fault Grounds: 1. 2. if one of the spouses is interested and takes appropriate steps to resume cohabitation. Guilty of Unnatural the case of any marriage solemnized before the commencement of this Act. 9. since the solemnization of the marriage. Rescission of decree. sodomy or bestiality. However. no obligation is cast on the parties to resume cohabitation.that her marriage was solemnized before she attained the age of fifteen years and she has repudiated the marriage after attaining the age but before attaining the age of eighteen years. been guilty of rape. Pre-Act polygamous marriage. Adultery Cruelty Desertion Conversion to any religion Incurably of unsoundness of mind Leprosy Venereal disease Renunciation Presumption of death Special Grounds for Wife (Section 13(2)) 1. . 3. 4. Repudiation of marriage. Non-resumption of cohabitation after an order of maintenance. 2. he/she can approach the Court for getting the decree rescinded. 3. After the passing of the decree. 7. 4. 6. 5. 8. that the husband had married again before such commencement or that any other wife of the husband married before such commencement of the petitioner.that the husband has.

Allahabad: Central Law Publications. 2011 . Sharma.BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Hindu Law. B.K.

My deepest thanks to Lecturer. Ms Nancy Sharma. I would also thank my Institution and my faculty members without whom this project would have been a distant reality. She has taken pain to go through the project and make necessary corrections as and when needed. . I also extend my heartfelt thanks to my family and well-wishers.ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I owe a great many thanks to a great many people who helped and supported me during the writing of this project. the Guide of the project for guiding me and correcting various documents of mine with attention and care.

CONTENTS y y y y y y y y y y y y Introduction Nullity of Marriage Void Marriage Grounds of Void Marriage Voidable Marriage Grounds of Voidable Marriage Children of Void and Voidable Marriages Difference between Void and Voidable Marriages Judicial Separation Difference between Judicial Separation and Divorce Grounds of Judicial Separation Bibliography .


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