A 17 year old girl was tricked into travelling to India under the belief that she could marry her Australian boyfriend but was instead forced to go through a marriage ceremony to another suitor chosen by her parents.
The girl’s parents, who confiscated her passport upon arrival in India, threatened to kidnap and rape the mother and sister of her Australian boyfriend if she did not comply with their directions. It was alleged that threats of a similar nature were also made to her boyfriend. The girl also stated that her father had hit her across the face on two separate occasions and hit her once on the back.
After the marriage in India had taken place, the girl agreed to assist in her husband’s visa application and they both returned to Australia. In Australia, she withdrew her support for the visa application and went to live with her former boyfriend.
The Family Court held that the marriage was void as ’her consent was not real because it was obtained by duress’. The Court found that she had been ‘physically and mentally overborne’ and refused to recognise the marriage under Australian law.