Jaganmohan Reddy, J.
1. This is a petition by the wife for declaring her marriage to be null and void on the ground that she was forced to enter into marriage with the respondent. According to the petition and the evidence of the petitioner It appears that the petitioner who was born on 4-3-1933 was about 16 years in 1949 studying in school. Proposal for marriage with the respondent was brought by her parents, but the petitioner resisted the same and expressed her unwillingness to enter into the marriage. Notwithstanding this, her parents set their minds to get through this marriage and on the marriage day in spite of her protest, her father, mother and sister forcibly prepared her for it and wanted to take her to the church. Even there she protested and refused to get into car. But the parents forced her in the car and forced, her out of it at the church. Even at the church, according to the evidence of the petitioner, she refused to sign the register and again the father of the girl forced her to do so.
Thereafter, nuptials were arranged. But the petitioner refused to go to the house of the respondent. The next day they tried to arrange the nuptials in the house of the petitioner itself, but there again she was adamant and refused to cohabit. At last probably realising that it is no use to go on with this, they left her alone. Ever since then, she not only changed her Christian name to the present one, Saroja David, but has been trying hard with the church to get her marriage nullified. It appears, being of a Roman Catholic faith, the Church tried tor reconciliation. But she has been adamant. But to this, a long time passed. The evidence of the petitioner, who has been cross-examined, clearly establishes that she was forced into the marriage against her wishes when she was still a girl. There is, therefore, no doubt that the marriage which she entered into, has been entered into on account of force.
2. The learned Advocate for the respondent has challenged the jurisdiction of this Court to award a decree of nullity of marriage. I do not know under what provision he has urged this point. But now that he has urged, it may be stated that the proviso to Section 19 of the Divorce Act, 1869, in a clear answer to this untenable contention. Section 10 says that a decree us specified in Section 18, namely of nullity of marriage, may be made on any of the four grounds specified therein. Thereafter the following saving has been effected.
'Nothing in this Section shall affect the jurisdiction of the High Court to make decrees of nuillity of marriage on the ground that the consent of either party was obtained by force or fraud.'
It may be observed that in so far as dissolution of marriage and nullity of marriage on the specific grounds stated in Section 19, are concerned both the District Court and the High Court have concurrent jurisdiction and when the case is one for declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of force or fraud, the exclusive jurisdiction of the High Court is saved. In order to understand what this jurisdiction is, it is necessary to refer to the history of that jurisdiction. Originally, the ecclesiastical Courts in England were empowered to deal with matrimonial matters. The Supreme Court in India which were administering the English law as it was on a particular day, had inherited this jurisdiction from the Ecclesiastical Courts. Ultimately, by tatute the High Courts have inherited their jurisdiction direct from the Supreme Courts. Thus the power to make decrees of nullity of marriage on the ground of duress or fraud was inherited by the Supreme Courts from the Ecclesiastical Courts and the High Courts inherited that power from the Supreme Courts. This Court has, therefore, clear jurisdiction to entertain this petition.
3. As no fraud or collusion has been established as an impediment to the grant of a decree for nullity of marriage, I accordingly allow the petition and decree nullity of the marriage between the petitioner and the respondent on 18-8-1949. In the circumstances, there will be no order as to costs.