Hindu marriage not valid ‘unless performed with ceremonies in proper form’: Supreme Court

New Delhi, May 01, 2024.

A Hindu marriage is a ‘samskara’ or sacrament and cannot be recognised under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 “unless performed with ceremonies in the proper form”, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Underlining that a Hindu marriage “is a sacrament which has to be accorded its status as an institution of great value in Indian society”, a bench of Justices B V Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih in an order dated April 19 urged “young men and women to think deeply about the institution of marriage even before they enter upon it and as to how sacred the said institution is, in Indian society”.

The top court reminded that “a (Hindu) marriage is not an event for ‘song and dance’ and ‘wining and dining’ or an occasion to demand and exchange dowry and gifts by undue pressure leading to possible initiation of criminal proceedings thereafter”.

The bench further said, “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.”

Delving into the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, the bench said that “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 Act”.