Karnataka High Court Declares A Marriage Void As The Wife Misrepresented and Concealed Her Real Age From Her Husband.
The Karnataka High Court on 1st March, 2023 has declared a Christian couple’s marriage as null and void holding that the woman had misrepresented and concealed her real age. MISCELLANEOUS FIRST APPEAL NO.5183 OF 2016 (FC). This is presided over by a division bench of Justice Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Vijaykumar Patil.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
This appeal under Section 19(1) of the Family Courts Act, 1984 has been filed by the appellant/husband against the judgment and decree passed by the Family Court by which the petition filed under Section 18 of the Indian Divorce Act, 1869, seeking declaration of petitioner’s marriage with the respondent, as null and void, has been dismissed. the appellant and the respondent are Indian Christians and their marriage was solemnized on 01.05.2014 at CSI Vanes Memorial Church, Bhadravathi, and the CSI Vanes Memorial Church Bhadravathi has issued marriage certificate. The appellant has averred that the marriage proposal of the respondent was brought by the wife’s mother, brother representing that the respondent’s age is 36 years at the time of marriage. Based on such representation the appellant and his family members have consented for the marriage in good faith and accordingly the marriage was solemnized. It was averred that nuptial ceremony was on 01.05.2014, however, the respondent’s parents started telling that due to physical strain to the respondent in the marriage ceremony, requested the appellant to postpone the same, and as per their request the ceremony was postponed. Thereafter the respondent wife was brought to appellant’s house at Shivamogga and started residing there. It was further averred that even after some days when the appellant requested for nuptial ceremony, the respondent informed that she is not keeping well and in the meanwhile, she suddenly fell ill and was unable to walk. When this fact was brought to the notice of mother of respondent, she and her son rushed to Shivamogga and they took the respondent to Bhadravathi informing that they will provide treatment for her and would send her back. It was further averred that respondent wife came back after two weeks and on the very next day, again she fell ill. Appellant and his family members were shocked and enquired regarding medical history and illness of the respondent wife but the same was not disclosed. The appellant further averred that he took the respondent to Doctor and Doctor advised her to undergo some tests and when the tests were conducted, it was revealed to the shock of appellant that respondent was suffering from Fatty infiltration of liver, Left renal Hydronephrosis, Microcytic Hypochromic Anemia and her blood report was also abnormal. It was further averred that when the appellant questioned the respondent and her family members, it was revealed that she is suffering from incurable disease since long time, the said fact was concealed by the respondent and her family members at the time of marriage proposal. It is averred that, she has also disclosed that her age is 41 years, which is again a shock to the appellant as it was represented to him that her age is 36 years at the time of marriage proposal. It was further averred that the respondent wife is 4 years elder than the appellant and it is clear that consent of the appellant for marriage was obtained by fraud, misrepresentation and also there is concealment of material facts, hence the marriage remains unconsummated. The Family Court recorded the evidence of the parties and in its judgment and decree inter alia held that petitioner failed to prove the grounds to declare his marriage with the respondent as null and void. Accordingly the petition was dismissed. The respondent in her statement of objection denied the said contention, however, in her cross-examination she admitted that at the time of marriage, she was aged 41 years, her brother Vasu’s was aged about 50 years and Veda was aged about 49 years, however, she has denied that she misrepresented her age for the reason that if her actual age was disclosed, she could never get a bride groom.
The Court held that “The respondent wife (RW1) in her cross examination has clearly admitted that she was aged 41 years at the time of marriage proposal, however she has disclosed her age as 36 years. When there is clear admission of the respondent wife that she and her family members have informed the appellant that her age is 36 years at the time of marriage proposal; however it was 41 years, we do not find any reason to disbelieve the admission of RW.1.”
It added that “In our view, the Family Court erred in appreciating the pleading and evidence on record, which has resulted in incorrect finding.”
It set aside the the impugned judgment and decree passed in the Family Court, Shivamogga and declared that the appellant’s marriage with the respondent solemnized on 01.05.2014 as null and void.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY PRATIKSHYA P. BEURA