Thursday, 28 January 2016

Void and Voidable marriage under Hindu law

A void marriage is a marriage which is unlawful or invalid under the laws of the jurisdiction where it is entered. A void marriage is "one that is void and invalid from its beginning. It is as though the marriage never existed and it requires no formality to terminate."

A voidable marriage is a marriage which can be canceled at the option of one of the parties. The marriage is valid but is subject to cancellation if contested in court by one of the parties to the marriage. The validity of a voidable marriage can only be made by one of the parties to the marriage; thus, a voidable marriage cannot be annulled after the death of one of the parties. A voidable marriage exists until it has been annulled by the courts.

Void marriage (Section 11 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955) - A marriage will be a void marriage if:
1.      If either party has a spouse living at the time of the marriage
2.      If the parties are within the degrees of prohibited relationship
3.      If the parties are sapindas of each other

Voidable marriage (Section 12 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955) - Any marriage shall be voidable and may be annulled by a decree of nullity on any of the following grounds, namely:-
1.      If the marriage has not been consummated owing to the impotency of the respondent
2.      If at the time of the marriage, either party is incapable of giving a valid consent of it in consequence of unsoundness of mind

3.      If at the time of the marriage, either party though capable of giving a valid consent has been suffering from mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and the procreation of children

4.      If at the time of the marriage, either party has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy
5.      If the consent of the petitioner was obtained by force or by fraud as to the nature of the ceremony or as to any material fact or circumstance concerning the respondent

6.      If the respondent was at the time of the marriage pregnant by some person other than the petitioner
In a void marriage, the parties do not acquire any status of husband and wife as such it does not confer any mutual rights and obligations upon the parties. On the other hand, in a voidable marriage the parties acquire status of husband and wife and it confers mutual rights and obligations upon the parties for all purposes until a decree of court annuls it.

In a void marriage, either of the parties to the marriage may marry again without getting a decree declaring the marriage void. The offence of bigamy is not attracted. On the other hand, as the voidable marriage is valid unless avoided, neither of the parties can marry again without obtaining a decree of nullity of marriage or else the offence of bigamy is attracted.


In void marriage, neither of the parties acquire right of inheritance on the death of other party when succession opens. On the other hand, in case of voidable marriage, either of the parties acquire right of inheritance on the death of other party when succession opens, if the marriage is not annulled.

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