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Report No. 59

3.3. Valid, void and voidable marriages.-

Hence arises the three-fold classification of marriages into valid, void1 and voidable marriages.2 A valid marriage gives rise to all the marital obligations. The obligations can be enforced by a decree for restitution of conjugal rights, and the children are legitimate. The obligations can be terminated (if at all) by obtaining divorce, or (to use an expression which is convenient), suspended by obtaining judicial separation. A void marriage is no marriage in the eye of the law, and need not be formally terminated,-although, for the sake of convenience, a decree of nullity can be obtained.

A void marriage does not create any marital obligations between the couple, and but for the special statutory provisions in that regard,3 the children would be illegitimate. A voidable marriage stands midway between the two. It creates marital obligations, and can be terminated by obtaining a decree of divorce (if the requisite grounds exist), or those obligations can be suspended by obtaining judicial separation. It can, however, be avoided by a petition, presented by the party affected, on the ground of one of the statutory defects (mentioned above).4 In this sense, it differs from a valid marriage.

1. Section 11, H.M.A.

2. Section 12, H.M.A.

3. Section 16, H.M.A.

4. Para. 3.2, supra.

3.4. This triple classification is unavoidable, and the scheme as a whole cannot be done away with. Such modifications as are required (if at all) concern mainly the conditions themselves, or the categorisation of a particular marriage as void or voidable, of other incidental matters. We proceed to consider such changes as relate to the conditions of the marriage (section 5). Points concerning the effect of breach of a particular condition will be dealt with later (sections 11-12).

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Special Marriage Act, 1954 Back

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