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Smt. Asha Qureshi v. Afaq Qureshi

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Case name : Smt. Asha Qureshi v. Afaq Qureshi

Citations: Smt. Asha Qureshi v. Afaq Qureshi, AIR 2002 MP 263

Date of Judgement: 17/05/2002

Equivalent Citations: 2002 (4) MPHT 108

Case Type: Civil Appeal

Appellant: Asha Qureshi

Respondent: Afaq Qureshi

Bench: Hon’ble Justice V.K. Agarwal

Court: Madhya Pradesh High Court

Statutes Referred:

Special Marriage Act, 1954; Sections – 24, 25, 29

Indian Contract Act, 1872; Section-17

Facts:

  • Marriage between Asha Qureshi and Afaq Qureshi was solemnised on 23/01/90 at Jabalpur, in accordance with the Special Marriage Act. They lived together for 1 Year.
  • Afaq Qureshi alleged that after the marriage he came to know that Asha Qureshi was a widow and she supressed the fact of her marriage, and that he agreed to marry her believing that she was a virgin.
  • Asha Qureshi denied the allegations.
  • Thus, Afaq Qureshi filed a petition under sections 24 and 25 of the Special Marriage Act, seeking a decree of nullity and of declaration of their marriage as null and void.
  • The Trial Court gave the decree of nullity.
  • Aggrieved by this Asha Qureshi made an appeal to the High Court.

Issues Involved:

  1. Whether the appellant suppressed her earlier marriage? Whether such suppression is a material fact?
  2. Whether the suppression as above would amount to fraud?

Contentions of Appellant:

The counsel of the appellant contented that-

  1. Parties were known to each other for a long time prior to the marriage.
  2. The respondent was fully aware of the appellant’s first marriage and also about the death of her first husband. Thus, there is no suppression of any material fact so as to constitute exercise of fraud by the appellant.

Contentions of Respondent:

The counsel of the respondent contented that-

  1. Respondent was never intimated about the material fact of appellant’s first marriage by the appellant.
  2. Respondent would not have married the appellant, had he known about the earlier marriage of the appellant. Thus, fraud was exercised by appellant and the marriage should be null and void.

Judgement:

The appeal was dismissed, and the respondent was entitled to a decree of nullity.

Ratio Decidendi:

According to sub-section (4) of section 17 of the Contract Act, 1872 to constitute fraud, it is not essential, that there should be any misrepresentation by express words. It would be sufficient if it appears that the party deceiving knowingly induced the respondent to enter into a contract by leading him to believe that which the party deceiving knew to be false.

Obiter Dicta:

N/A

Conclusion:

A material fact is one which induces a reasonable person to enter or not to enter into a transaction. Active Concealment of such fact would amount to fraud according to sub-section (2) of Section 17 of Indian Contract Act, 1872.  In this case the appellant actively concealed the fact of her earlier marriage and that she was a widow. At the same time the respondent had contended that he would have not tied a knot with the appellant had he known about this fact. The Court believed that it was the appellant’s obligation and duty to intimate the respondent about such material fact and thus this amount material misrepresentation and fraud. And thus, the Court dismissed the appeal.

Drafted By – Harshpreet Kaur, Lloyd Law College