The Punjab and Haryana High court has upheld a trial court order annulling the marriage between a girl and a godman on the ground that consent for marriage was obtained by using the fiduciary relationship as a Godman.
Justice MMS Bedi summarized the case in a long sentence (First sentence in the judgment is more than 120 words long) like this : “The present case is a tale of a man who claiming himself to be a staunch follower of God Hanuman with divine powers comes into contact with the family of a girl with power to heal all kinds of pains and sufferings and by misusing his influence, taking advantage of his fiduciary relationship makes an innocent girl to fall in his trap to dissuade her from her relationship with a man of her liking and age and adopts immoral and fraudulent tricks taking advantage of the feeble and innocent mind of a girl under depression; exploits his fiduciary status of a Godman; indulges in unreasonable exploitation affecting not only the life of the innocent girl but to spoil the same by forcing the relationship of husband and wife by imposing the relationship developed by act of fraud and undue influence.”
The girl, after realizing the trap had filed a case seeking to annul the marriage which was allowed by the court. The court had found that the godman played with her emotions and created a psychological pressure on her and, she succumbed to his misconceived scheme and lost power to think rationally and thinking him as the messenger of God and spiritual guru who would never let her down, she acted on his directions.
Dismissing his appeal, the high court observed: “It is not unknown that a godman like appellant creates a false impression in the minds of the people by their sermons by reflecting that they have got divine powers and when the families fall into their trap, they use the undue influence to exploit them sexually. This is a glaring example of such a nature.”
The court observed that marriage is definitely void as the consent of the girl has been obtained by the ‘godman’ by using the fiduciary relationship as a godman and trapped the respondent by false representations and poisoning her mind and creating a fear of morality and illegality in maintaining her relationship with her boyfriend.