Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Section 15 - Provides that it shall be lawful for either party to marry again after dissolution of a marriage if there is no right of appeal against the decree - A second marriage by either party shall be lawful only after dismissal of an appeal against the decree of divorce, if filed - If there is no right of appeal, the decree of divorce remains final and that either party to the marriage is free to marry again - In case an appeal is presented, any marriage before dismissal of the appeal shall not be lawful - The object of the provision is to provide protection to the person who has filed an appeal against the decree of dissolution of marriage and to ensure that the said appeal is not frustrated - The purpose of Section 15 of the Act is to avert complications that would arise due to a second marriage during the pendency of the appeal, in case the decree of dissolution of marriage is reversed - The protection that is afforded by Section 15 is primarily to a person who is contesting the decree of divorce - Following the principles of purposive construction, we are of the opinion that the restriction placed on a second marriage in Section 15 of the Act till the dismissal of an appeal would not apply to a case where parties have settled and decided not to pursue the appeal. (2018)2 SCe@Journal 1364 / 24th August, 2018
Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Section 15 - Following the principles of purposive construction, we are of the opinion that the restriction placed on a second marriage in Section 15 of the Act till the dismissal of an appeal would not apply to a case where parties have settled and decided not to pursue the appeal - Aggrieved by the decree of divorce granted in favour of the first wife, the Appellant filed an appeal and obtained a stay of the decree - During the pendency of the appeal, there was a settlement between him and his former spouse - After entering into a settlement, he did not intend to contest the decree of divorce - His intention was made clear by filing of the application for withdrawal on 28.11.2011 - It cannot be said that he has to wait till a formal order is passed in the appeal, or otherwise his second marriage dated 06.12.2011 shall be unlawful. (2018)2 SCe@Journal 1364 / 24th August, 2018
Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Section 5 (i) – Void marriage - Appeal filed by A (husband) against dissolution of first marriage with R (first wife) – Application was filed for withdrawal of his appeal by A on 28.11.2011 i.e. prior to the date of the marriage on 06.12.2011 between A and S (second wife) and order of withdrawal of appeal passed by the High Court on 20.12.2011 - Marriage between the Appellant(A) and the Respondent(S) was on 06.12.2011 i.e. before the order of withdrawal was passed by the High Court on 20.12.2011 – Date of dismissal of the appeal relates back to the date of filing of the application for withdrawal of the appeal i.e. 28.11.2011 – Therefore, the appeal is deemed to have been withdrawn on 28.11.2011 i.e. the date of the filing of the application for withdrawal was made - On 06.12.2011 which is the date of the marriage between the Appellant and the Respondent, R (first wife) cannot be considered as a living spouse - Hence, Section 5 (i) is not attracted and the marriage between the Appellant(A) and the Respondent(S) cannot be declared as void - Civil Procedure Code, 1908, Order XXIII Rule 1 (1). (2018)2 SCe@Journal 1364 / 24th August, 2018
Social welfare legislation – Interpretation - The Hindu Marriage Act is a social welfare legislation and a beneficent legislation and it has to be interpreted in a manner which advances the object of the legislation. The Act intends to bring about social reforms - Court cannot interpret a socially beneficial legislation on the basis as if the words therein are cast in stone. (2018)2 SCe@Journal 1364 / 24th August, 2018
Void marriage - (Per S.A.Bobde, J) It would thus appear that the law is already settled by this Court in Lila Gupta v. Laxmi Narain and Ors., (1978) 3 SCC 258 that a marriage contracted during a prescribed period will not be void because it was contracted under an incapacity - Obviously, this would have no bearing on the other conditions of a valid marriage - Assuming that a marriage contracted before it became lawful to do so was unlawful and the words create a disability, it is not possible to infer a nullity or voidness vide paras 9 and 10 of Lila Gupta case - The Court must have regard to the consequences of such an interpretation on children who might have been conceived or born during the period of disability - Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.