HC nullifies validity of marriage

Misrepresentation regarding the religion would be a misrepresentation regarding a material fact and would affect the very validity of the marriage, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court observed while allowing the petition filed by a man who sought the declaration that the marriage between him and a woman null and void.

The court was hearing the petition filed by P. Sivakumar of Nagercoil who sought a direction to declare the marriage between him and one S. Beula null and void. The petitioner said that the woman’s family had represented themselves as Hindus. But, the educational institution records of the woman showed that she was a Christian.

The consent for the marriage was obtained by suppression of the material fact, religion. The petitioner said that a Hindu marriage could be held or performed only among two Hindus and contended that the marriage held in 2003 between a Hindu and a non-Hindu as per Hindu rites was null and void.

The Additional Subordinate Judge, Nagercoil, and the District Judge, Kanniyakumari, ruled in favour of the woman and held that the misrepresentation regarding the religion at the time of the marriage could not be established. The petitioner appealed against the order of the trial court before the High Court.

Justice R. Subramanian took note of the fact of a plethora of documentary evidence available on hand in the case to prove that the woman was Christian by birth and she was practising Christianity throughout her life. This was evidenced by indisputable documents in the form of educational institution records, the judge said.

Though the woman claimed that it was a mistake that she was described as a Christian in the educational records, the judge said that once the fact that there was a wrong description was admitted, it is for the person, who claimed that the wrong description was a result of a mistake, to prove the same.

Looking at the evidence available on record, the judge said that the court was constrained to hold that the woman had not established the plea of mistake raised by her. The courts below were not right in placing the burden of proving the misrepresentation on the man and concluding that he had not discharged the burden, the judge said.

The courts below had not appreciated the evidence that was available on record and chose to ignore crucial documentary evidence. The findings of the courts below were liable to be set aside, the judge said and observed that the marriage was declared null and void. The petition was disposed of.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 11:19:31 PM |

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