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Void marriages

Provision of void marriage under Hindu Law

Section 11 of the Hindu Marriage Act states, “Any marriage solemnized at the commencement of this Act shall be null and void and may, on a petition presented by either party thereto against the other party be so declared by a decree of nullity if it contravenes any one of the conditions specified in clauses (i), (iv) and (v) of section 5”.

A marriage will be a void marriage-

1. If any party to marriage has a spouse living at the time of the marriage [section 5(1)].

2. If the parties are within the degree of prohibited relationship unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits such a marriage [section 5(4)].

3. If the parties are sapindas of each other unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits such a marriage [section 5 (v)].

Marriage under Hindu law is a union of both husband and wife. Where a person marries during the subsistence of the first marriage, the subsequent marriage would become void marriage under the section.

It is open to parties to treat a void marriage as a nullity without even asking for a declaration from the court. It is only parties to marriage who can move a petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage.

Where a person has married another wife during the subsistence of first marriage then it is only the subsequent married wife who could move for declaration of nullity of marriage and then marriage will become void marriage.

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