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HomeNews ReportsHindu marriage is not solemnised without the ‘Saptapadi’ (Saat Phere) ritual, such marriages not...

Hindu marriage is not solemnised without the ‘Saptapadi’ (Saat Phere) ritual, such marriages not legally valid: Allahabad High Court

Essentially, the court ruled that the alleged second marriage of the woman couldn't be considered solemnised because essential Hindu rituals like Saptapadi were not conducted.

Allahabad High Court has ruled out that Hindu marriages are invalid without ‘Saptapadi’ (seven rounds by bride and groom around the sacred fire, known as ‘saat phere’ in Hindi) as well as other sacred ceremonies. The decision was pronounced after the bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar Singh threw out a complaint case where the husband requested a penalty for his estranged wife and allowed a petition filed by the woman. The complainant had alleged that his wife had commemorated her second marriage without finalising a divorce from him.

Allowing the petition filed by Smriti Singh, the court stated, “It is well settled that the word ‘solemnize’ means in connection with a marriage ‘to celebrate the marriage with proper ceremonies and in due form’. Unless the marriage is celebrated or performed with proper ceremonies and due form, it cannot be said to be ‘solemnized’. If the marriage is not a valid marriage, according to the law applicable to the parties, it is not a marriage in the eyes of the law. The ‘Saptapadi’ ceremony under the Hindu law is one of the essential ingredients to constitute a valid marriage but the said evidence is lacking in the present case.”

The court also cited Section 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, which clarifies that either partner to a Hindu marriage should have their customary rituals and ceremonies followed in the solemnization of the union. Furthermore, during such rituals and ceremonies, the groom and bride take seven steps around a sacred fire together. When the final step is taken, the marriage is declared to be final and binding.

Essentially, the court ruled that the alleged second marriage of the woman couldn’t be considered solemnised because essential Hindu rituals like Saptapadi were not conducted. Therefore, the woman is not guilty under Sections 494 and 109 of the IPC. The court also observed that in the police investigation, the allegations of a second marriage were found to be false. The court stated that the word ‘solemnize’ means ‘to celebrate the marriage with proper ceremonies and in due form’ and hence unless the marriage is celebrated or performed with proper ceremonies and due form, it cannot be said to be ‘solemnized’.

The summons order dated 21 April 2022 and all subsequent proceedings in the complaint case against the petitioner’s spouse that were pending before the Mirzapur court were struck down by the court. It proclaimed, “Even there is no averment with regard to ‘Saptapadi’ in the complaint as well as in the statements before the court, hence, this court is of the view that no prima-facie offence is made out against the applicants as the allegation of second marriage is a bald allegation without corroborative materials.”

The petitioner Smriti Singh married Satyam Singh in 2017, however, following a strained relationship, she fled her in-laws’ residence and submitted a First Information Report which charged harassment for dowry. The police then filed a charge sheet against the husband and his family after conducting an inquiry. Later, she also submitted a request for maintenance which was approved. On 11 January 2021, the principal judge of the family court in Mirzapur ordered the husband to pay Rs 4,000 as support each month till she enters into a new marriage.

The husband then filed an application with higher-ranking police officers and accused the wife of bigamy. The circle officer Sadar in Mirzapur thoroughly investigated the aforementioned application and concluded that his claims of bigamy and other offences against her were untrue. He then filed a report dated 6 January 2021 by the official to the Superintendent of Police (SP) Mirzapur.

Afterwards, on 20 September 2021, the husband lodged a charge against the petitioner for an infraction under sections 494 and 109 Indian Penal Code and alleged that she had sanctified her second marriage among other things. She was arraigned by the concerned Mirzapur magistrate on 21 April of last year

She, therefore, brought the current petition before the high court and objected to the summons order as well as the full course of the complaint case’s proceedings. Her counsel argued that the charges and summoning order were merely a counterblast case against the applicants due to the FIR she initiated against his family members, the order for compensation and the intent to overturn the probe report of the circle officer of police of Mirzapur.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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