The existence of cohabitation and marriage cannot be established by a single photograph taken together: Madras High Court

In a judgment dated 03.03.2022 the Madras High Court has stated that the factum of marriage cannot be inferred from a single photograph where both persons are seen together. The matter was between S. Meena & Anr. v. Sivakumar & Ors. (A.S.No.900 of 2012) and was presided over by Hon’ble Mr. Justice G. Jayachandran.


The appellants are a deceased Sakthivel’s wife and son. They argued that because they are Sakthivel’s legitimate heirs, they are entitled to a 1/7th portion of the ancestral property owned by the defendants, who are Sakthivel’s brothers, mother, and father. The trial court had dismissed their suit due to absence of marriage certificate, birth certificate and proof of residence.


The court noted that the plaintiffs had failed to meet their burden of proof in demonstrating that the subject property was, in fact, shared family heirloom property which they could not fulfill even through evidence and witnesses.

The Madras High Court emphasised that the factum of marriage cannot be inferred from a single photograph in which both parties are visible together while dismissing an appeal suit brought by a woman who sought a 1/7th share for herself and her son in the ancestral property of her deceased husband’s family.

The court further ordered the appellants/plaintiffs to pay Rs 25,000 as exemplary costs while dismissing the appeal action and rejecting the memo submitted.

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