Case Study: Babui Panmato Kuer v. Ram Agya Singh

By Swarada Rane 6 Minutes Read

Citations: 1967 Indlaw PAT 51, AIR 1968 PAT 190

Date of Judgement: 18th February, 1967

Bench: G.N. Prasad

Facts:

  • Petitioner (hereinafter referred to as P), a Girl above 18yrs of age at the time of marriage, appeals to the court for the dissolution of marriage on the grounds that the Consent was obtained by Fraud and Visual misrepresentation.
  • The Petitioner overheard her father talking to her mother that he had fixed their daughter’s marriage to a man, age between 25-30, who is financially well. On hearing this, the girl impliedly consented the marriage.
  • At the time of Marriage, and after a few days, P found out that, the man she married to was 60yrs old and that her consent was fraudulently obtained by her parents. Later her father took her away and denied sending her back.
  • On learning this, Respondent (hereinafter referred to as R) filed a Complaint against her father u/s 498 of IPC and withdrew it in few days after her father bought her back to R.
  • R thrashed her and kept her hungry for 2 days, she tried escaping somehow, went to her father and then to her Uncle’s house.
  • R filed the second complaint against her father and her uncle U/s 498 IPC, but somehow, he found her and confined in her room.
  • The petitioner again tried escaping and went to nanihal, she then filed for Dissolution of Marriage with the respondent on the ground of fraud in the matter of procurement of her consent whereby her marriage was solemnized.

Lower Court Decision:

The Additional District Judge dismissed the petition for Dissolution of Marriage. An appeal was preferred before the High Court u/s 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

Judgment:

The HC pointed out petitioner was Sui Juris and therefore her consent to the marriage should have been obtained directly, but that was not done, and it was obviously with a view to procuring the Consent to the marriage, that the particulars of the bridegroom were conveyed to her mother who, in the circumstances was acting as her agent in this matter. The Suggestions made to the petitioner’s mother were in respect of certain facts, which the petitioner’s father could not possibly have believed to be true.

The High Court pointed out also the points of the trial court regarding the expression “at the time of marriage” is to be found in clause (a) as well as in clause (d) but is non-existent in clause (c) therefore the scheme of Sec leaves no room for doubt that in a case falling under clause (c), it is not necessary to prove that consent was obtained by force or fraud at the time of the marriage. All that the section requires is that the consent should have been obtained by force or fraud before the marriage was solemnized. The case of the petitioner falls quite clearly within the ambit of clause (c) of Section 12 (1).

Therefore, Court annulled the petitioner’s marriage with respondent.

Key Law Points Established In the case:

  • Whether the Appellant was entitled for Dissolution of Marriage with the Respondent?

Yes.

The Court while reiterating illustration of Sec 17 (b) of the Contract Act, which defines fraud, observed that the father of the appellant had resorted to active concealment of facts, which was within his knowledge and that with an intention to indirectly procuring the appellant’s consent to marry the respondent. it is the duty of the father to state facts truthfully in matters of age and other particulars.

In support of the Ex Parte evidence filed by the appellant, the Court set aside the decision Of Additional District Judge, holding that “Spouse or any party to the marriage shall be entitled for dissolution of marriage if the consent is acquired fraudulently”

Hence, the case of the appellant falls within the ambit of clause (c) of Sec 12(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act due to which the Appellant was entitled for the Dissolution of Marriage with the Respondent.

  • Was there any fraudulent misrepresentation to the Petitioner?

Yes.

It is manifested that the impression which was created in the mind of the petitioner by the talks between her father and mother continued even at the time of the solemnization of marriage because upon the evidence it must be held that the petitioner behind under heavy veil at the time of marriage could have no opportunity to have a look at her husband so as to make her in a position to withdraw her consent even at that stage.

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