BARS TO MATRIMONIAL RELIEF

INTRODUCTION:

Even if personal laws make provision for relief in marriage on various grounds, the right available for the aggrieved party is not absolute. Before filing suit for relief two conditions need to be fulfilled:-

  1. The ground under which the relief is sought for existing.
  2. There are no situation or circumstances which would debar the aggrieved from getting the relief even if there is an existence of statutory ground.

With these two conditions, we can confer that statutes provide for certain bars to relief, for instance, collusion, condonation, and one’s own wrong.

COLLUSION:

Collusion is a kind of agreement if we say it more informally; it is an understanding between the parties, either in:

Positive side-

To put up a petition or

To prosecute a petition

By bringing forth the true sides of a false case or

False fact in support of a true case

Negative side-

To suppress facts

Or anything so as to prevent court from granting a divorce

The agreement of collusion may be express or implied.

Under section 23(1) © of the Hindu marriage act, 1955, the court has to satisfy that the petition is not presented in collusion with respondent. However under section 11 (decree for nullity of marriage on ground that the marriage is void) of the same act, this provision does not apply.

Further section 47 of the Indian divorce act, 1869 also provides for the provision that “every petition for a decree of dissolution of marriage under Indian divorce act there should not be any collusion between the petitioner and other parties to the marriage.”

Similarly section 35(b) of parsi marriage and divorce act, 1936, it has been stated that, the court in any suit of marriage for its nullity has to satisfy itself that husband and wife are not colluding together.

Hence we can say that collusion as to bar to relief in marriage has been included to safeguard the administration of those condition on the mere fulfillment of which the marriage can be dissolved.

CONDONATION:

it means forgiving the matrimonial offence and restoring the offending spouse in the same position as he/she occupied before the offence was committed. so if a spouse forgive the matrimonial offence of the other , then that spouse cannot seek for the remedies later on and hence act as bar to matrimonial relief.

Section 34(b) of special marriage act, 1954, it laid down two offences:

  1. Adultery
  2. Cruelty

If these two offences are condoned by the petitioner then that petitioner is not entitled to any relief on those ground.

Further section 13 and section 14 of the Indian divorce act, 1869 amended in 2001 and added a provision where there is no relief if the petitioner condoned the act of adultery of the respondent.

Hindu marriage act also provides for condonation as a bar to relief to marriage. section 23 provides if

  1. cruelty
  2. adultery

Has been condoned there cannot be any relief for the petition of judicial separation or for divorce on these grounds.

To constitute condonation, there must be two things to satisfy:-

  1. Forgiveness
  2. Restoration

in case that the offence is forgiven but conjugal right has not been restored in that case there will be no condonation as to bar the relief to marriage.

One of the instances of this concept is reflected in the case of Chintalapudi Sathiraju v/s Chintalapudi Lakshmi where the husband, whose petition filed under Section 12(1)(c) of the Hindu Marriage  for declaration that his marriage with the respondent is vitiated by fraud and misrepresentation and consequentially for annulling the marriage by granting a decree of nullity was dismissed .here the court observed that husband has the knowledge that the  wife is suffering from divorce and he had condoned that act and therefore the petition was dismissed.

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF WRONG OR DISABILITY:

under section 23(1)(a) of Hindu marriage act , 1955, it was made very specific that before granting any decree the court must satisfy itself that the ground for which the relief is sought for exist and the petitioner in any way is not taking the undue benefit of his own fault for the purpose of such relief.

This bar to relief is based on doctrine of sincerity which means the principle that the one who come to court must come with clean hand.

In Alldridge v. Aldridge an agreement to live apart and not see each other by wife was considered a bar to the petition for annulment of a marriage unconsummated owing to the incapacity of the wife.

In Scott v. Scott (orse. Fone)  a “ marriage for companionship ” between two middle-aged persons was upheld by Sachs Who refused relief to the husband on the ground that he fully accepted the marriage for what it was worth.

CONCLUSION:

Hence there is certain bar to matrimonial relief where the remedies are not granted even if the condition are fulfilled and these bars are :

Collusion

Condonation

Taking advantage of wrong or disability.

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