It is officially over now. Six years of running to the court, battling a divorce case and fighting charges of dowry and harassment, life had indeed run into troubled waters for actor Prashanth.
The Madras high court on Monday confirming the lower court order declaring his marriage with V. D. Grahalakshmi as null and void, because she had hidden the fact that she was already married to Venu Prasad, when she got him(Prashanth) to tie the knot on September 1, 2005.
A division bench comprising Justice K Mohan Ram and Justice G M Akbar Ali said: “The suppression of the marriage registered between Grahalakshmi and another person (Narayan Venu Prasad) is a material fact amounting to fraud, and thereby render the marriage (with Prashanth) voidable.”
Life has been a roller-coaster ride for the actor in the past six years. Talking about the most distressing facet, Prashanth fumes, “I have seen many twists and turns in this battle. Problems started three months into the marriage and harassment and dowry charges were levelled against me. Amidst all this mayhem, news that Grahalakshmi was already married was like rubbing salt into my wounds. I still remember the day an anonymous well-wisher called and informed me about her first marriage and I sat up the whole night frantically surfing the government website looking for clues”.
“But I am glad that it is over for now. The verdict has come as a great relief,” smiles Prashanth.
But the battle is not over for the actor. “The issue of my child is yet to be resolved. As of now, I am abiding by the law which says that a minor should be in the custody of the mother.”
After all this chaos, does the actor still have faith in marriage? “Yes. People should first understand that marriage is a great institution. What’s the point of getting married if you are planning to divorce in a couple of months?” he asks.
Actor-director Thiagarajan, father of Prasanth is visibly relieved.
“Prashanth’s fight-back is an example for other men similarly harassed. Now it’s all over and he will go all out to give his best in films. He is still young and I am sure his fans are getting ready for the big blast of Mambattiyan(directed by Thiagarajan himself) release,” he said with a smile.
Prashanth’s six-year long nightmare (2006-2011)
- Prashanth married Grahalakshmi on September 1, 2005, and a son was born on July 31, 2006. Due to domestic disputes, the ties between the two families started worsening after Grahalakshmi left for her matrimonial home.
- Prashanth moved the family court first, seeking re-union with his wife and restitution of conjugal rights. When the matter was still pending, Grahalakshmi lodged a dowry harassment complaint against Prashanth.
- To everyone’s surprise, Prashanth learnt in June 2007 that Grahalakshmi was already married to one Narayanan Venu Prasad on November 30, 1998 and the marriage was registered on December 30 that year. Grahalakshmi not only concealed this fact from the actor but also did not divorce Venu Prasad before marriage.
- That’s when he filed a criminal complaint against her and her relatives accusing them of cheating him. He also filed petition in a city court asking for declaring his marriage with Grahalakshmi as null and void.
- On court’s hearing Venu Prasad while admitting his marriage with Grahalakshmi also said, they lived separately and didn’t have any physical relationship together.
- Grahalakshmi, however, denied such a marriage and charged Prashanth and Venu Prasad of colluding with each other.
- However, on the basis of marriage certificate issued by a joint registrar of marriage, the family court granted divorce in April 30, 2009. Aggrieved, Grahalakshmi moved the high court against the order.
- Dismissing her appeal on Monday(November 21, 2011), the division bench said that the certified copy of the Hindu marriage register is a public document within the meaning of Section 74 of the Evidence Act.
- “The certified copies are admissible as secondary evidence under the Act. Since we have held that a suppression of registration of earlier marriage amounts to fraud, the provision under Section 12(1) (c) is attracted and the competent court is empowered to annul the marriage. “, the judges said.