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DAMODARAM SANJIVAYYA NATIONAL LAW

UNIVERSITY VISAKHAPATNAM, A.P., INDIA

SUBJECT
FAMILY LAW-I

FACULTY
DR.S.RADHAKRISHNA,Ph.D
Assistant Professor

PROJECT TITLE
BABUI PANMATO v. RAM AGYA SINGH

NAME OF THE STUDENT: R.SOWMYA


SEMESTER: III
ROLL NO: 2018LLB119

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT

I owe a great many thanks to a great many people who helped and supported me during the
writing of this project. My deepest thanks to my Family Law Asst.Prof.Dr.S RadhaKrishna Sir
,the Guide of the project for guiding me and correcting various documents of mine with
attention and care. He has taken pain to go through the project and make necessary corrections
as and when needed. I would also thank my faculty members without whom this project would
have been a distant reality. I also extend my heartfelt thanks to my family and well-wishers.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

SYNOPSIS----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4
STATEMENT OF JURISDICTION ...................................................................................... 7

STATEMENT OF FACTS .................................................................................................... 8

QUESTIONS OF LAW ......................................................................................................... 9

LAWS INVOLVED ............................................................................................................... 9

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED.............................................................................................. 11

ON BEHALF OF PETITIONER--------------------------------------------------------------- 11

ON BEHALF OF RESPONDENT--------------------------------------------------------------13

JUDGEMENT .................................................................................................................... 133

RESEARCHER’S OPINION ............................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.4

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SYNOPSIS

Court: Patna HighCourt

Case Name: Babui Panmato Kuer vs Ram Agya Singh on 18 February,

Citation: AIR 1968 Pat 190

Petitioner: Ram Agya Singh

Respondent: Babui Panmato Kuer

Bench: G Prasad

Acts:

 Section 12(1)(c) Hindu Marriage Act, 1955


 Section 498 of Indian Penal Code, 1860

Cases Cited : Anath Nath De vs Smt. Lajjabati Devi, AIR 1959 Cal 778.

Head Note: The statement of law in this case is whether there was misrepresentation to the
petitioner herself inasmuch as the particulars of the bridegroom were not conveyed to the
petitioner directly and had been merely overheard by the petitioner while her father was
mentioning them to her mother? Whether that fraudulent misrepresentation within the meaning
of Section 12 (1)(c) must be made at the time of the solemnization of the marriage and not
earlier, that is to say at the time of settling the marriage?

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Facts of the case:

The petitioner was married to one old person of age 60 or around. But the age of the bridegroom
was informed to the knowledge of the petitioner by the father of the bride. the petitioner
therefore filed a petition for the annulment of the marriage for which the respondent filed an
appeal.

Question of law:

1. Whether there was misrepresentation to the petitioner herself inasmuch as the particulars of
the bridegroom were not conveyed to the petitioner directly and had been merely overheard by
the petitioner while her father was mentioning them to her mother?
2. Whether that fraudulent misrepresentation within the meaning of Section 12 (1)(c) must
made at the time of the solemnization of the marriage and not earlier, that is to say at the time
of settling the marriage?

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BEFORE THE HONOURABLE HIGH COURT OF PATNA

BABUI PANMATO KUER...........................................................................APPELLANT

VS

RAM AGYA SINGH................................................................................RESPONDENT

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STATEMENT OF JURISDICTION

The honourable high court of Patna have the jurisdiction to try, entertain and dispose of the
present case by virtue of section 28 of the Hindu marriage act, 1955.

Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act, Appeals from decrees and orders.

(1) All decrees made by the court in any proceeding under this Act shall, subject to the
provisions of sub-section (3), be appealable as decrees of the court made in the exercise of its
original civil jurisdiction, and every such appeal shall lie to the court to which appeals
ordinarily lie from the decisions of the court given in exercise of its original civil jurisdiction.

(2) Orders made by the court in any proceeding under this Act under section 25 or section 26
shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), be appealable if they are not interim orders,
and every such appeal shall lie to the court to which appeals ordinarily lie from the decisions
of the court given in exercise of its original civil jurisdiction.

(3) There shall be no appeal under this section on the subject of costs only.

(4) Every appeal under this section shall be preferred within a period of ninety days from the
date of the decree or order.

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STATEMENT OF FACTS

Just before her marriage had been solemnized she had overheard her father telling her mother
that he had fixed up a husband for the petitioner, who was in an affluent financial condition
and was between 25 and 30 years of age. Having heard these particulars, the petitioner raised
no objection to the proposed marriage: and it might be said that she impliedly consented to the
marriage through silence. At the time of solemnization of the marriage, she was, as is customary
in a Hindu family, particularly in a rural area, under a heavy veil in consequence of which she
could not see the bridegroom. The bridegroom, viz., the respondent, left on the very next
morning of the marriage without the petitioner's roksadi having been performed.

Sometime in the early part of 1960, the respondent filed a criminal case against her father under
Section 498, Indian Penal Code. Thereupon, her father, who had earlier declined to send the
petitioner to the respondent's house, agreed to her going there and the prosecution against him
was withdrawn. On the 15th April, 1960, the father took her to the respondent's house, where
for the first time, in the night, she discovered that besides being a man of very ordinary means,
the respondent was aged even more than her father, that is to say, over 60 years She wept and
wept, took no food for two days and insisted upon being sent back to her father's house,
whereupon the respondent beat her. However, she later stealthily escaped to her father's place,
but the father chided her; and so she left his place as well and took shelter at her uncle's place.
Thereupon, the defendant started another case under Section 498, Indian Penal Code, against
her parents and uncle. However, the respondent succeeded in taking her to his house, where
she was confined in a room. The petitioner again succeeded in escaping from the respondent's
house; and this time she took shelter in her nanihal. Ultimately, in March, 1961, the petitioner
filed the present petition 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. According
to the petitioner, she had no cohabitation with the respondent at all. The respondent appeared
in the proceeding and filed written statement denying the allegations contained in the petition,
but he did not contest the petition at the time of hearing. The petitioner accordingly pledged
her oath in support of her allegations, which remained uncontroverted and which have been
substantially accepted by the learned Judge to be correct.

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QUESTIONS OF LAW

Whether there was misrepresentation to the petitioner herself inasmuch as the particulars of the
bridegroom were not conveyed to the petitioner directly and had been merely overheard by the
petitioner while her father was mentioning them to her mother?

Whether that fraudulent misrepresentation within the meaning of Section 12 (1)(c) must be
made at the time of the solemnization of the marriage and not earlier, that is to say at the time
of settling the marriage?

LAWS INVOLVED

Section 12 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955


Voidable marriages .—
(1) Any marriage solemnised, 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 marriage has not been consummated owing to the impotence of the respondent;
or]
(b) that the marriage is in contravention of the condition specified in clause (ii) of
section 5;
(c) that the consent of the petitioner, or where the consent of the guardian in marriage of the
petitioner [was required under section 5 as it stood immediately before the commencement of
the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act, 1978 (2 of 1978)], the consent of such
guardian was obtained by force [or by fraud as to the nature of the ceremony or as to any
material fact or circumstance concerning the respondent]; 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 the force had ceased to operate or, as the
case may be, the fraud had been discovered; or

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(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 solemnised before the
commencement of this Act within one year of such commencement and in the case of marriages
solemnised 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 said ground].

(i) Non-disclosure of age and factum of having major children by husband at the time of
marriage amounts to fraud and suppression of material facts having bearing on marriage.
Marriage founded on fraud from very inception is a nullity;

(ii) Misrepresentation as to the age of the bridegroom made to the mother who acted as an agent
and the daughter consented for the marriage believing the statement to be true. It was held that
the consent was vitiated by fraud;

Section 498 in The Indian Penal Code

498. Enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman.—Whoever
takes or entices away any woman who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be
the wife of any other man, from that man, or from any person having the care of her on behalf
of that man, with intent that she may have illicit intercourse with any person, or conceals or
detains with that intent any such woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

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Illustrations

(a) A sells, by auction, to B, a horse which A knows to be unsound. A says nothing to B about
the horse’s unsoundness. This is not fraud in A. (a) A sells, by auction, to B, a horse which A
knows to be unsound. A says nothing to B about the horse’s unsoundness. This is not fraud in
A."
(b) B is A’s daughter and has just come of age. Here the relation between the parties would
make it A’s duty to tell B if the horse is unsound. (b) B is A’s daughter and has just come of
age. Here the relation between the parties would make it A’s duty to tell B if the horse is
unsound."
(c) B says to A—‘‘If you do not deny it, I shall assume that the horse is sound”. A says nothing.
Here, A’s silence is equivalent to speech. (c) B says to A—‘‘If you do not deny it, I shall
assume that the horse is sound”. A says nothing. Here, A’s silence is equivalent to speech."
(d) A and B, being traders, enter upon a contract. A has private information of a change in
prices which would affect B’s willingness to proceed with the contract. A is not bound to
inform B. (d) A and B, being traders, enter upon a contract. A has private information of a
change in prices which would affect B’s willingness to proceed with the contract. A is not
bound to inform B."

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED

PETITIONER CONTENTIONS

The 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 her
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 the 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 petitioner's father must have seen the respondent and he
must have known that he was nowhere between 25 and 30 years of age at that time. Therefore,
the petitioner's father had made suggestions to the petitioner's agent, viz., her mother, of certain
facts which the petitioner's father himself could not possibly have believed to be true. Even

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upon the footing that her father intended to procure her consent indirectly, employing her
mother for the purpose, he had a duty towards her of making true disclosure of facts particularly
with regard to the age of the proposed bridegroom. By giving out that the bridegroom was only
25 to 30 years of age, while, in fact, he was in the region of 60 years, the petitioner's father had
resorted to the active concealment of a fact, which was within his knowledge or belief. If the
petitioner's father had conveyed true facts to her mother and yet the petitioner, who overheard
the talks, did not protest, then the position could have been materially different. But, here the
relevant facts were suppressed from her knowledge, although it was the duty of her father to
convey the true position to her.

In Anath Nath De vs Smt. Lajjabati Devi 1on 22 May, 1959, Apart from duress or imbecility
of mind amounting to insanity and apart from the grounds for avoiding a marriage in the
circumstances introduced by statute in 1937, fraudulent misrepresentation, or concealment,
does not affect the validity of a marriage to which the parties freely consented with a knowledge
of the nature of the contract. But if a person is induced to go through a ceremony of marriage
by threats; or duress or in a state of intoxication, without any real consent to the marriage, it is
invalid; in all such cases the test of validity is real consent to the marriage. It is well settled
under the Indian Divorce Act that fraudulent misrepresentation in inducing consent to marriage
does not vitiate a marriage. On the other hand it has been held when there is no consent at the
time of the marriage or the consent is obtained to the solemnization of marriage by force or
fraud, the marriage is invalid. Hence marriage was avoided when a party was kept under the
impression that what is being per-formed is only betrothal or there is a deception as to identity
of the other party. Therefore, in order to find out whether a marriage is invalid on the ground
of fraud, it is necessary to find out whether there was consent of the petitioner at the time of
the solemnization of the marriage

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Anath Nath De vs Sm. Lajjabati Devi on 22 May, 1959 AIR 1959 Cal 778
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RESPONDENT CONTENTIONS

The defendant started another case under Section 498, Indian Penal Code, against her parents
and uncle. However, the respondent succeeded in taking her to his house, where she was
confined in a room. The respondent appeared in the proceeding and filed written statement
denying the allegations contained in the petition, but he did not contest the petition at the time
of hearing.
The respondent contended that there was no misrepresentation to the petitioner herself
inasmuch as the particulars of the bridegroom were not conveyed to the petitioner directly and
had been merely overheard by the petitioner while her father was mentioning them to her
mother; and that fraudulent misrepresentation within the meaning of Section 12 (1)(c) must be
made at the time of the solemnization of the marriage and not earlier, that is to say at the time
of settling the marriage.

JUDGEMENT

The court held the judgment in favour of the petitioners. The learned Judge has relied upon the
decision of a learned single Judge of the Calcutta High Court in Anath Nath De v. Smt.
Lajjabati Devi, AIR 1959 Cal 778. The view taken in the Calcutta case undoubtedly supports
the conclusion of the learned Judge in the present case. The court held that the learned Judge
has missed to note that the purpose of this talk was to convey the relevant information to the
petitioner through her mother so that the petitioner might be in a position to give her consent
to the proposed marriage. Anybody, who is familiar with the family life of an average Hindu,
knows that talks about marriage between a father and a daughter are not carried on directly but
are conveyed indirectly through the agency of female relatives, particularly the mother, if she
is available. I am, therefore, of the opinion that there was a fraudulent misrepresentation to the
petitioner, intended to procure her consent to the marriage. It is manifest that the impression,
which was created in the mind of the petitioner by the talks between her father and her mother,
continued even at the time of solemnization of the marriage, because upon the evidence it must
be held that the petitioner, being under a heavy veil, at the time of the marriage, could have no
opportunity to have a look at her husband so as to be in a position to withdraw her consent even
at that stage. However, the evidence discloses that it was not until the 15th April, 1960, when
the true facts with regard to the age of the respondent came to the petitioner's knowledge.

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RESEARCHER’S OPINION

The researcher opinion is that the judgment was valid in which the court held that mere
overhearing of a fact by the bride about any fact would not be directly held to be the consent
given to the marriage. Where the petitioner was sui juris; and, therefore, her consent to the
marriage should have been obtained directly, and where it was not done; and it was obviously
with a view to procuring her 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 the matter. In
those circumstances, it cannot be held to be obtaining a valid consent for the marriage and
comes under obtaining consent with fraud and misrepresentation.

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