Friday, September 29, 2023

Supreme Court: Only Hindus can marry under Hindu Marriage Act

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The Supreme Court said that only the Hindus are entitled to marry under the Hindu Marriage Act and that any marriage between other inter-faith couples is to ber considered void.

A bench comprising of Justice KM Joseph and Justice BV Nagarathna have posted this matter for a final hearing in February.

The plea is filed by an Indian-American Christian man who is both the appellant as well as the accused in the case. He states that the complainant has implicated him falsely after he declined to marry her on finding out about her addiction to drugs and alcohol.

The complainant said that they had conducted marriage rituals as per the Hindu customs, but the man has since married another Indian woman in America.

Justice Joseph during thew hearing said that the marriage is void. Justice Nagarathna weighed in by saying that it is only Hindus who can marry under the Hindu [Marriage] Act.

The appeal, which was filed through advocate Sriram Parrakat, challenges an order by the Telangana High Court of August 2017 that had refused to quash proceedings against the petitioner under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) before a magistrate in Hyderabad.

As per Section 494 second marriage of spouse done while still married to their first partner, is void and punishable for a jail term of up to seven years.

As per the Court, other than the statement filed by the complainant, there has been no evidence filed to prove the alleged marriage with her by the petitioner.

It is important to note that the petitioner is a Christian and the Respondent No.2 is a Hindu.

The petitioner claimed that he has never converted and, pertinently, the alleged marriage with the complainant was never recorded prior to the alleged ceremony, nor was it registered after, as is required under the Special Marriage Act.

The plea raises questions on fact that the police took cognisance of the offence in the absence of any evidence, based on the statement of the complainant. Further, even the chargesheet is only based on her statements and those of her family.

The petition has raised many questions before the law including whether the marriage between two different-faith individuals performed as per Hindu rites and rituals without conversion is valid in the eyes of law?

It also posed this question before the law if the marriage under Special marriage Act can be performed in the absence of the marriage Officers?

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