Indian Marriage Laws: Fraud as Ground for Divorce
Under Indian marriage laws, a marriage can be set aside if the consent for it was secured by fraud or misrepresentation of facts. This is not so easy to prove. However, it must be noted that fraud is not defined in the Indian marriage laws. So, any type of fraud cannot be taken as a ground for matrimonial relief.
Indian Marriage Laws: Statutory Provisions
Under Indian marriage laws, the Hindu Marriage Act enables a petitioner to avoid a marriage if the consent was obtained by force or fraud, as mentioned in section 12(1)(c).
The fraud must be:
- In relation to the nature of the ceremony.
- In relation to any circumstance concerning the opposite party.
One cannot take fraud as a ground for divorce if the fraud was discovered a year before filing the case. Also, if the parties have been co-habiting after the knowledge of fraud, the petitioner cannot take it as a ground for matrimonial relief.
Before 1976, one could avoid a marriage only if the consent was obtained by fraud and the performance of marriage ceremony is the actual time to ascertain, under s 12(1). In case the ceremony of marriage had taken place with the willingness and consent of the petitioner, then s/he cannot seek annulment of such marriage on the ground of fraud.
Indian Marriage Laws: Fraud Committed During Agreement to Marriage
Indian marriage laws are interpreted in disputes by taking into account the peculiarities of the parties to the dispute. In Rasiklal v Sulochana (1967) ILR Guj 822, 851, it was declared that fraud committed during agreement to marriage (including betrothal) could not be taken as a ground to avoid marriage by the distressed party. Also, the nature of fraud under which the petitioner could seek relief could not go beyond deception as to the ceremonies of marriage or the identity of the person (prior to 1976).