Getting married in front of an idol in a temple, take saath pheras (Saptapadi-round around the sacred fire) in a temple in front of an idol in a temple, constitutes for legal matrimony?
A physical relationship coupled with wearing “sindoor” (vermillion) and “mangalsutra” does not constitute for a valid marriage!
Dated: 31-01-2017: "Unless the marriage is celebrated or performed with proper ceremonies and in due form, it cannot be said to be solemnized," the bench led by justice BP Dharm Adhikari observed:
While hearing a petition involving a 40-year-old businessman and a 38-year-old woman, who said she was “married” in front of Krishna idol and he applied “sindur” to her forehead and tied a “mangalsutra” around her neck.
The bench stressed upon the importance of proper ceremonies and “due form” for a legal union between man and woman and said that:
The marriage couldn’t be valid under the 1955 Hindu Marriage Act as neither the community of the man nor the woman - Marwari and Brahmin respectively - recognized the union. The court ruled that as per the 1955 Hindu Marriage Act, since neither of their communities thought the marriage to be valid, it couldn’t be considered otherwise.
The court overturned a 2015 family court verdict that ordered the restoring of marriage rights to the woman, who had two children from a previous marriage.
The bench pointed out that no one attended the “marriage” and neither friends nor family members recognized the two as “husband and wife”.
While the couple claimed to be living-in together, and that such an arrangement has worked for many in the past.
The HC also refused to recognize the relationship as a live-in relationship as they never resided together under one roof. The court also noted that the couple had no witnesses of their ‘wedding’ and neither of the families recognized theirs as a legitimate live-in relationship since they were not living-in under the same roof.
The judges also took note of the fact that though the 38-year-old woman was divorced; she was staying in her matrimonial home along with her husband “for the sake of the children”.
She approached the family court for restoring conjugal rights only after the parents of the businessman fixed his marriage with a woman from their own community. Besides, the bench noted that:
“The woman demanded an amount of Rs.10 lakhs threatening to implicate him in a false case of sexual harassment.
The appellant, under duress, paid an amount of Rs.2 lakhs on 8.8.2013 to the respondent, in order to save himself and his family members from the false report and tarnishing the reputation in the society. On the same day, the appellant received a text message from the Mobile Number of the respondent expressing her happiness over receiving the amount for which she remained grateful to him. On 9.8.2013 the respondent withdrew all the allegations against the appellant, by giving in writing on stamp paper of Rs. 100/¬.
>>> Central Government Act
Hindu Marriage Act 1955
7: Ceremonies for a Hindu marriage.
(1) A Hindu marriage may be solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party thereto.
(2) Where such rites and ceremonies include the saptpadi (that is, 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. State Amendments Section 7A Pondicherry: After section 7, insert the following section, namely:-
(a) by each party to the marriage declaring in any language understood by the parties that each takes the other to be his wife or, as the case may be, her husband; or
(b) by each party to the marriage garlanding the other or putting a ring upon any finger of the other; or
(c) by the tying of the thali.
(2) (a) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 7, but subject to the other provisions of this Act, all marriages to which the section applies solemnized after the commencement of the Hindu Marriage (Madras Amendment) Act, 1967, shall be good and valid in law.
(b) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 7 or in any text, rule or interpretation of Hindu law or any custom or usage as part of that law in force immediately before the commencement of the Hindu Marriage (Madras Amendment) Act, 1967, or in any other law in force immediately before such commencement or in any judgment, decree or order of any court, but subject to sub-section (3) all marriages to which this section applies solemnized at any time, before such commencement shall be deemed to have been, with effect on and from the date of the solemnization of each such marriage, respectively, good and valid in law.
(3) Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to -
(a) render valid any marriage referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (2), if before the commencement of the Hindu Marriage (Madras Amendment) Act, 1967,
(i) such marriage has been dissolved under any custom or law; or
(ii) the woman who was a party to such marriage has, whether during or after the life of the other party thereto, lawfully married another; or
(b) render invalid a marriage between any two Hindus solemnized at any time before such commencement, if such marriage was valid at that time; or
(c) render valid a marriage between any two Hindus solemnized at any time before such commencement, if such marriage was invalid at that time on any ground other than that it was not solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party thereto:
Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any person liable to any punishment whatsoever by reason of anything done or omitted to be done by him before such commencement.
(4) Any child of the parties to a marriage referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (2) born of such marriage shall be deemed to be their legitimate child: Provided that in a case falling under sub-clause (i) or sub-clause (ii) of clause (a) of sub-section (3), such child was begotten before the date of the dissolution of the marriage or, as the case may be, before the date of the second of the marriages referred to in the said sub-clause (ii). [ Vide Tamil Nadu Act 21 of 1967, sec. 2 (w.e.f. 20-1-1968).]
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