There are two ways to legally end a marriage – annulment and divorce. An annulment is a legal procedure which cancels a marriage between a man and a woman. Annulling a marriage is as though it is completely erased – legally, it declares that the marriage never technically existed and was never valid.
What Is Annulment Of Marriage
In strict Legal terminology, annulment refers only to making a voidable marriage null;if the marriage is void ab initio, then it is automatically null, although a legal declaration of nullity is required to establish this.
Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. With the exception of bigamy and not meeting the minimum age requirement for marriage, it is rarely granted. A marriage can be declared null and void if certain legal requirements were not met at the time of the marriage. If these legal requirements were not met then the marriage is considered to have never existed in the eyes of the law. This process is called annulment. It is very different from divorce in that while a divorce dissolves a marriage that has existed, a marriage that is annulled never existed at all. Thus unlike divorce, it is retroactive: an annulled marriage is considered never to have existed.
Section 12 of Hindu marriage Act,1955
Voidable Marriages :-
(1) Any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be voidable and may be annulled by a decree of nullity on any of the following grounds, namely:-
a.that the respondent was impotent at the time of the marriage and continued to be so until the institution of the proceedings; or
b.that the marriage is in contravention of the condition specified in clause (ii) of section 5; or
c.that the consent of the petitioner, or where the consent of the guardian in marriage of the petitioner is required under section 5, the consent of such guardian was obtained by force or fraud; or
d.that the respondent was at the time of the marriage pregnant by some person other than the petitioner.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), no petition for annulling a marriage-
a.on the ground specified in clause (c) of sub-section (1) shall be entertained if-
(i) the petition is presented more than one year after for force had ceased to operate or, as the case may be, the fraud had been discovered; or
(ii) the petitioner has, with his or her full consent, lived with the other party to the marriage as husband or wife after the force had ceased to operate or, as the case may be, the fraud had been discovered;
b.on the ground specified in clause (d) of sub-section
(1) shall be entertained unless the court is satisfied- (i) that the petitioner was at the time of the marriage ignorant of the facts alleged;
(ii) that proceedings have been instituted in the case of a marriage solemnized before the commencement of this Act within one year of such commencement and in the case of marriages solemnized after such commencement within one year from the date of the marriage; and
(iii) that marital intercourse with the consent of the petitioner has not taken place since the discovery by the petitioner of the existence of the grounds for a decree.