The Bombay High Court has allowed an appeal against a judgment of a District Court in Kolhapur and nullified a 9-year-old marriage between two parties on grounds of non-consummation.
Justice Mridula Bhatkar held that the first appellate court at Kolhapur had erred in holding that the marriage was valid despite the fact that there was no consummation.
The appellant wife contended that the respondent husband had obtained her signatures on a blank paper by making false promises of getting her a job, he also lied about having a job at the factory himself. She realized later that their marriage was registered on October 20, 2009 even though she never intended to marry him.
According to the appellant wife, she never stayed with the respondent husband after the marriage was registered. The respondent husband accepted that the appellant was unable to stay with him but reasoned that it was due to fear of her father. He contended that there was no question of deception and that the marriage was consensual. He also denied the appellant’s claim of non-consummation and stated that they have had sexual relations and that she even got pregnant but had a miscarriage.
The court observed: “The Court has come across the most ironical situation that both the parties though unanimously claim that they did not stay together even for a day, are fighting with each other for nine years on the issue of their nuptial relationship. Thus, without leading a married life even for a day, the dispute of nullity is going on for 9 years. On the point of nullity, two substantial questions of law are raised in view of the requirement of Section 25 of Special Marriage Act.”
Justice Bhatkar further noted that the appellant wife denied the respondent’s claim that she was pregnant with his child at some point. It was also stated that no such evidence to substantiate the said claim and keeping in mind Section 25(1) of the said Act, the court said: “At the request of the counsel and with consent of the parties, I have also tried to convince the parties to go for amicable settlement either to decide to live married life together afresh as husband and wife or to separate mutually so that they can rehabilitate their lives and free themselves from this deadwood marriage.
However, it was in vain. The parties have become very bitter and vindictive towards each other and blame other party has ruined his/her nine years of life. This attitude is going to ruin their furthermore years. This situation like Gordian knot is required to be dealt with, as lives of two young persons are at stake, may be due to their incorrect or self-destructive decisions. An irretrievable marriage is not a ground under Special Marriage Act but non-consummation of marriage is a ground.”
Thus, the appeal was allowed and marriage was declared null and void. However, the respondent’s counsel sought a stay of 8 weeks on the judgment in order to challenge it before the Supreme Court. Stay was granted.