Can marriage with an unsound person be ended?

Who is an unsound person?

A person of unsound mind is said to be any person, who is not a minor and who, not having been found to be a mentally disordered person is incapable from infirmity of mind of managing his own affairs.

Legality of unsound mind under Hindu Law

India is a land of different cultures and religions, where marriages are solemnized with respect to their own customs and traditions. One such religion is Hindu religion and to regulate marriages of Hindus, the Hindu act was enacted. According to the Hindu law, a marriage of a person of unsound mind shall be held void. This means that a person who is not capable of leading a normal married life or fulfil the responsibilities associated with it is a person said to be of unsound mind.

Can a person of unsound mind marry someone?

In India, marriage is considered the most pios and sacred affair. Different branches of different religions followed separate customs. In order create uniformity and give recognition to acceptable customs and weed out the immoral practises, legal acts for different religions were enacted. One of the act was Hindu marriage act, which explains in detail with regard to marriage and separation laws. There are 3 types of marriages:

Valid Marriages: any marriage solemnized in accordance with the Hindu marriage act will be considered as a valid marriage. Valid marriages can only break through divorce or judicial separation.

Void marriages: The type of marriage which is not valid in the eyes of law and are void at the beginning only. Since, void marriages are not legal thus, these marriages cannot be enforced through law.

Voidable marriages: These are the types of marriages which are both void as well as valid they are void in nature but if one of them or both of them agree to continue with the marriage then it is a valid one. Thus, it is the type of marriage where these marriages can be ended at the behest of any of the spouse.

The Hindu law has laid down various circumstances under which a marriage can be classified into valid, void and voidable marriages.  As per the law, marriage of a person of unsound mind shall be held void. This means that at the time of marriage, if a person is not capable of leading a normal married life or not capable to take the decision or give the consent to marry is a person said to be of unsound mind.

When can a person suffering from unsoundness of mind be divorced?

In many cases, a person can approach the court for divorce if they believe that the partner is suffering from severe mental illness or unsoundness of mind, during the course of the marriage. There can be situations, where a person was of sane mind during the solemnization of marriage but during the course of or many years of marriage the person has become of unsound mind. In both the above situations, a decree for divorce can be applied.

This means that any person who is not capable of leading a normal married life or fulfil the responsibilities associated with it at any point is a person said to be of unsound mind. Thus, judicial separation can certainly be obtained if the person has been “incurably of unsound mind,” or has been suffering continuously or intermittently from “mental disorder of such a kind and to such an extent that the petitioner thus cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent”.

Major mental disorders have always been considered as important elements in marriage and are listed both as preconditions of marriage and as grounds for divorce.

In a famous case, the hon’ble Supreme Court propounded that each case of schizophrenia has to be considered on its own merits and circumstances. There have been certain medical evidences that are regarding the requisite degree of mental disorder and is relevant in approach, even though it is not conclusive. In the aforementioned scenario, the hon’ble Supreme Court also observed that when there was sufficient evidence for the court to conclude that the slight mental disorder of the wife that was not of such a kind and to such an extent that the husband could not reasonably be expected to live with her, divorce could not be granted. These judgments are majorly significant because of the importance and cardinality given to the effects and the impact rather that to the mere labelling of mental illness. Thus, divorce on the ground of unsound mind or severe mental illness can only be granted if the unsoundness is to such an extent that the partner cannot be reasonably expected to live with them.

If a marriage is void, does that mean that the marriage has ended?

If a marriage is void or voidable then to end the marriage, a decree of nullity has to be established. In simple words, the marriage has to be declared null and void through an order of annulment by the court, even if the marriage in question is a void one.

How to get an annulment?

Annulment is basically a legal procedure which is meant to declare a marriage null and void through the court. The Hindu law provides for certain essentials to be fulfilled in case any of the spouses wishes to get a decree of declaration of annulment by the court.

How can G.S. Bagga & Associates help you?

Greetings! Marriages involving unsound person can get a lot tricky as on surface the person may seem normal but at the same time, must be incapable of forming a judgement of his own acts. In such situations, lawyers play a major role in protecting your interest. The offices of G.S. Bagga & Associates have been experienced in family law and matrimonial issues for over 7 years now. If you’ve found the above information satisfying, you can get in touch with us and can book a free consultation. We would love to support you with our legal expertise in the matter. Feel free to contact us, anytime.