Concealment of Facts Before Marriage: Prevention is better than legal cure
Posted on Sep 13, 2022

Pre-matrimonial due diligence and post-matrimonial investigations are increasingly being handled by professional investigators. Earlier, parents, friends or family members used to verify the credibility and authenticity of the prospective bride/groom from their informal sources before deciding on a nuptial. However, the scenario is fast changing with matrimonial alliances being prone to forgery, cheating and legal disputes, cost of which is very high and damage irreparable.

Law On Concealment Of Facts Before Marriage

Section 12 (1) (c ) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 provides concealment of material facts before marriage a ground to declare marriage null and void. The relevant section is read as, "....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 , 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...."

Thus, both the parties in the case of an adult are obliged to divulge mutually and unequivocally the material fact or circumstances to each other before or at least at the time of marriage. These material facts vary from one family to another, according to culture, ethos and social system. It may include concealment of one's true caste, previous marriage, any ailment which makes it impossible to consummate the marriage or perform important tasks related to the marriage, etc.

The remedies which law provides in the cases of concealment of facts before marriage are of the nature of cure rather than precaution. Further, proving these allegations in a court of law can be a tricky task and also a time consuming and lengthy process. Depending on the family background and the society one faces mental trauma, harassment, financial loss and reputational damage.

As the wise adage goes “Prevention is better than cure”. The question is what can a person or a family do to avoid such a scenario?

To ensure the right alliance, many parents of the bride/groom and the prospective partners are hiring professional investigators to conduct due diligence. Post matrimony conflicts and court cases require collection of evidence to make ground for divorce, or to make the legal case strong, especially in matters of cheating, adultery, extra marital affairs, fraud and false employment/income.

  • Background Verification : KYC verification, character and reputation checks of family (discreet and confidential), educational verification

  • Financial Stability : employment verification, job profile, business details, working status, income details, asset profile, liabilities, loans/mortgages etc.

  • Legal checks : Past criminal record, police and court records

  • Lifestyle : General habits and lifestyle, travel patterns, social media activity

  • Undisclosed/ concealed previous Marriage/Divorce/Children: A pre-marital investigation regarding concealed previous marriage/ divorce or other relationships can avoid future complications.

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