Bombay High Court Recognizes Relative Impotence as Grounds for Annulment After 17-Day Marriage

In a landmark decision, the Bombay High Court has granted annulment to a newly married couple citing ‘relative impotence’ as grounds. The marriage, which lasted only 17 days, was brought under legal scrutiny after the couple themselves sought to have their union declared null.

The petition was filed by a 27-year-old woman who stated that her husband was unable to consummate their marriage. The court, recognizing the challenges posed by relative impotence, ruled that it was impractical to continue the marriage. The bench, presided over by Justices Vibha Kankanwadi and S.G. Chapalgavkar, acknowledged the physical and emotional disconnect between the couple, noting their mutual frustration and distress evident within days of their wedding.

The issue first arose in a family court in February 2024, where the wife’s initial petition for divorce was rejected. Subsequently, the husband approached the High Court, challenging the family court’s decision. In their ruling, the High Court differentiated between general impotence and relative impotence, clarifying that the latter indicates an inability to engage in sexual relations specifically with a partner, and is not indicative of a broader incapacity.

The court also rejected the family court’s suggestion of collusion between the husband and wife, citing the genuine emotional and physical turmoil faced by the couple. The decision emphasizes the court’s sensitivity to the personal and intimate nature of such cases and the profound impact they can have on the lives of the individuals involved.

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