Annulment of marriage dissolves a marriage and brings the parties (to the marriage) at the same position where they were before the marriage was solemnized.
Annulment is just a legal procedure to declare a voidable marriage null and if the marriage is void then, though legally it is automatically null, still legal declaration of nullity is required to establish the same.
Annulment is granted when a marriage is automatically void due to certain public policy reasons or due to it being voidable by one party due to non presence of certain requisite elements required to get the marriage validly solemnized in The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Certain conditions which are necessarily required to be present at the time of marriage are provided under section 05 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
A party can approach the court for annulment of marriage if the marriage was solemnized due to various factors, some of which are:-
- Fraud – Marriage solemnized on the basis of lies or misrepresentations
- Mental Anguish / Incapacity – Emotional or Mental illness of either of the spouse at the time of marriage.
- Parties being in prohibited degree of relationship
- Concealment of facts like a party having sexually transmitted disease
- Party being under influence of drug or alcohol at the time of marriage
- Bigamy – one of the party already being validly married at the time of marriage
- One of the party being under age
Status of children from Annulled marriage – The court establishes the rights and obligations of children born out of wedlock of annulled marriage. Such children are legitimate.
Procedure for filing petition for annulment – One of the parties must necessarily live for a continuous ninety day period in the state where the petition for annulment is filed. Though the procedure of annulment is similar to that of a divorce, but not as complicated as divorce.
Length of marriage – The length of the marriage is not a qualifying factor for presenting the petition of annulment. In case of annulment of a marriage which has been solemnized for a longer period, the court divides the property amongst the parties.
Annulments are not granted graciously but rarely and so whenever they are granted, there should be very specific circumstances.
Thus, annulments nullifies the marriage thus returning both the parties to the position prior to their being getting into the institution of marriage.