A petition for the annulment of marriage is moved on certain grounds specified in various matrimonial laws. Once a petitioner is successful in proving its case, marriage is declared null and void. Resultantly, the court considers that the marriage has not taken place at all and the tag of the ‘divorcee‘ is not attached. Annulment of marriage is very important in the scheme of matrimonial laws as there is no point in carrying the burden of divorce in cases where marriage has been solemnized on the strength of fraud or where the marriage is solemnized despite the fact that the responding spouse was already married.
Who can seek Annulment?
Any party to the marriage can file an application for the annulment for declaration of the marriage as null and void. However, this is just a procedure to be brought on record before the court and is done as the precaution so that in future, no question of void marriage can be called off.
Annulment of Void marriages
As per Section 11 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, which deals with void marriages described as the marriage solemnized after the commencement of the Act shall be null and void and become null and void by presenting a petition through any of the party on the basis of the above mentioned grounds.
Concept of Bigamy – In case any of the spouse was still legally married to another person at the time of the marriage to the other spouse then the marriage is considered to be void and no requirement for applying the annulment before the court is mandatory.
Annulment of Voidable marriages?
A voidable marriage is basically a legal marriage which can be cancelled by any one of the parties to the marriage and is contested in the court on the basis of the below mentioned grounds:
- No consummation of marriage because of incapacity of the partner;
- Any of the spouse did not provide the free consent to it or in the consequence of mistake, unsoundness etc.
- Any of the spouses is mentally disordered person but has given the valid consent for marriage and that person falls under the ambit of the Mental Disorders Ordinance 1952 Act.;
- Any of the spouse is suffering from the venereal disease which is in a communicable form;
- The wife is pregnant with some other person at the time of marriage.
Basically the process of annulment of marriage is not a common process therefore a person applying for the annulment has to meet the residency requirement where he/she is staying. Thereafter the person can file the petition where he was born, the marriage was solemnized or has been living together and has to stay for continuous 90 days period before filing the application. The procedure for the annulment is almost similar to the divorce proceedings and can be filed by any of the party. However, the divorce is considered to be the most complicated process as compare to the annulment.