The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently held that if a girl marries before attaining the age of eighteen years, she will be able to get separation through a decree of divorce, if until attaining the age of majority; the Marriage wasn’t declared void underneath the Hindu Marriage Act.

A Division Bench of Justices Ritu Bahri and Arun Monga added that such a marriage cannot be declared a nullity under Section 13(2) (iv) of Hindu Marriage Act, as that provision is applicable to a girl whose marriage was solemnized before she attained the age of 15 years.

The Court also held that, “If a marriage contracted with a female of less than 18 years or a male of less than 21 years, would not be a void marriage but voidable one, which would become valid if no steps are taken by such “child” within the meaning of Section 2(a) of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 seeking declaration of this marriage as void.

Court also added, “A petition for nullity under Section 13(2) (iv) could be filed if she-wife had got married at the age of 15 and she could file petition for dissolution of marriage before she attains the age of 18.”

The parties solemnized their Marriage as per Hindu rites and ceremonies, at that point the husband was twenty three years previous, and also the married girl was seventeen years previous. They lived along and cohabited in an exceedingly conjugal relationship for eleven years and had a baby boy.

 After eleven years, they filed a joint petition beneath Section 13(B) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for dissolution of Marriage by approach of a decree of divorce by mutual consent before the tribunal. However, the tribunal unemployed their joint petition, observant that their Marriage wasn’t valid on account of the married girl being but eighteen years at the time of Marriage and thus, they were needed to urge their Marriage invalidated as per Section 13(2)(iv) of Hindu Marriage Act. It relied on Prema Kumari v. M. Palami (2013).

The Court Said that the aforementioned judgment doesn’t apply to the facts of this case, as Section 13(2)(iv) will solely be invoked if the married girl is fifteen years recent, that isn’t this case. Therefore, noting that the respondent-wife had crossed the age of eighteen years in 2010 it, the Court put aside the Family Court’s call. The tribunal mentioned Court on its Motion (Lajja Devi) v. State (2012) wherever the Delhi Court, whereas touching on Sections 5(iii), eleven and twelve of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Sections a pair of and three of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, determined that if a Marriage contracted with a feminine of but eighteen years or a male of but twenty one years, wouldn’t be a void marriage however voidable one, which would become valid if no steps are taken by such “child” within the meaning of section 2(a) of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 seeking declaration of this marriage as void.

The Court noted, “Both the parties continuing to measure along and cohabited as husband and partner since 2009 until 2017, and therefore the respondent-wife had not chosen to file a petition for obtaining her Marriage void. Hence, for all intents and functions, after they created a petition underneath Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the respondent-wife was major, and therefore the Marriage was valid as per the observation created by the Old Delhi state supreme court Full Bench (Lajja Devi).”

The Court also observed Jitendra Kumar Sharma v. State & Anr. (2010) and T. Sivakumar v. The Inspector of Police, Thiruvallur city station & Ors. (2012).

In the present matter, the Court noted that every possible effort made by the parties and friends for reconciliation failed. The parties decided to dissolve their marriage by way of mutual consent.

The parties set to dissolve their Marriage by manner of mutual consent. As per the settlement between the parties, the custody of the son was given to the husband, and he undertook in touch all the expenses for the upbringing of the kid and cannot claim any expenses from the respondent-wife.

 Hence, the appeal was allowed with directions to draw decree sheets.

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