Marriage is a social union, which lays the foundation of important legal rights and obligations. However, in the event things turn sour and are not able to work out, it is ideal that the couple part ways.
The methods and procedures followed for this are as follows:
- Divorce: Divorce is the dissolution of marriage, in which the legal duties and responsibilities are cancelled, thereby suspending the bonds of wedlock between a married couple under the rule of law of a particular country or state.
- Annulment: Annulment on the other hand denotes making a voidable marriage null. However, if the marriage is void ab initio, then we need to move the court to get a declaration of annulment.
Conditions for Annulment of a Marriage:
Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
- In Hindu marriage laws, Section 5 Of The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 lays down conditions for a valid Hindu marriage, which are:
- If One Party To A Marriage Is A Non-Hindu Then The Marriage Is Not To Be Governed By This Law.
- Neither Party To A Marriage Should Not Have A Spouse Living At The Time Of The Marriage.
- Either Party To A Marriage, If Incapable Of Giving Valid Consent Due To The Unsoundness Of Mind Can Lead To Annulment.
- If Either Party Is Unfit For Marriage And The Procreation Of A Child, Then The Marriage Can Be Annulled.
- Neither Party To A Marriage Should Be Subject To Recurrent Attacks Of Insanity.
- The Bridegroom Should Be Twenty-One Years And The Bride Should Be Eighteen Years Of Age.
Under other laws
(a) Special Marriage Act:
In inter-caste and inter-religion marriages the following grounds are identified for the annulment of marriage:
- If Any Party Has Refused To Consummate The Marriage
- In Case At The Time Of Marriage, The Wife Was Pregnant By Some Other Person, Other Than The Husband To The Marriage.
- If Consent Was Obtained By Fraud, Coercion Or Misrepresentation, As Outlined Under The Indian Contract Act, 1872.
(b) Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act 1936:
According to section 30 of the Act, if consummation of marriage becomes impossible on account of natural causes, then it may be affirmed as null or void, at the initiative of any party.
(c) Indian Divorce Act 1869:
Under Section 19 of the Act, a decree for nullity can be passed on the following grounds:
- Impotency Or Lunacy Of Either Party To The Marriage;
- Either Party Had A Previous Marriage In Force Or The Husband Or Wife Of Either Party Was Living At The Time Of The New Marriage, Which Was Solemnized Without A Proper Divorce From A Court Of Law;
- The Parties Are In The Prohibited Degrees Of Consanguinity.
Procedure To Annul The Marriage
The following process needs to be followed for annulling a marriage:
- Determine the jurisdiction where the case needs to be filed viz the Place The Marriage was solemnized or where the couple last lived together as husband and wife, or where the estranged wife is residing or in the event of death or whereabout not being known where the petitioner is residing.
- Appoint a lawyer, and provide them with all details and documents to draft the petition.
- File The Petition And Pay The Required Court Fee.
- Get The Decree After The Court Examines The Evidence In Detail.
Rights Of Children (If Any) After The Annulment
The Children Out Of Such Wedlock Are Considered To Be Legitimate After The Annulment Of The Marriage.
They Can Inherit And Demand Partition Of Only The Properties Of Their Parents, as deemed children can. In the case of ancestral property, these children can claim their share in the property falling in the share of the parents.