Hindu Marriage Not Valid Unless Performed With Proper Ceremonies: Supreme Court

New Delhi: In a significant order, Supreme Court has said that a Hindu marriage can’t be recognised under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 unless performed with ceremonies in the proper form.

Emphasising that Hindu marriage is a sacred institution and should not be trivialised as a mere social event for “song and dance” and “wining and dining”, the top court urged young individuals to deeply consider the sanctity of marriage before committing to it, reported LiveLaw.in.

A bench of Justices B V Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih said that marriage should not be approached as an occasion for extravagance or as a means to demand dowry or gifts, but as a solemn occasion that establishes a lifelong union between a man and a woman, forming the foundation of a family, which is a fundamental unit of Indian society.

“Hindu marriage is a sacrament which has to be accorded its status as an institution of great value in Indian society,” the Supreme Court in a recent order.

“A marriage is not a commercial transaction. It is a solemn foundational event celebrated so as to establish a relationship between a man and a woman who acquire the status of a husband and wife for an evolving family in future which is a basic unit of Indian society. A Hindu marriage facilitates procreation, consolidates the unit of family and solidifies the spirit of fraternity within various communities. After all, a marriage is sacred for it provides a lifelong, dignity-affirming, equal, consensual and healthy union of two individuals. It is considered to be an event that confers salvation upon the individual especially when the rites and ceremonies are conducted,” The bench further stated.

“Unless and until the marriage is performed with appropriate ceremonies and in due form, it cannot be said to be ‘solemnised’ as per Section 7(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act,” the apex court ruled.

“Sub-section (2) of Section 7 states that where such rites and ceremonies include the saptapadi, i.e., the taking of seven steps by the bridegroom and the bride jointly before the sacred fire, the marriage becomes complete and binding when the seventh step is taken. Therefore, requisite ceremonies for the solemnisation of the Hindu marriage must be in accordance with the applicable customs or usage and where saptapadi has been adopted, the marriage becomes complete and binding when the seventh step is taken,” the court said.

The Supreme Court was hearing on a petition filed by a wife seeking transfer of divorce proceedings from a Bihar court to Ranchi.

While the case was going on, the husband and wife jointly applied for a declaration that their marriage was not valid, stating that their marriage had not been solemnised as they did not perform any custom, rites or rituals. They were compelled by circumstances and pressures to obtain a certificate of solemnisation from Vadik Jankalyan Samiti (Regd).

They claimed that the certificate was used to register the marriage under Uttar Pradesh Registration Rule, 2017, after which they received a ‘Certificate of Marriage’ from the Registrar.

Noting that marriage had actually not been solemnised, the Supreme Court ruled that there was no valid marriage.

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