Supreme Court Stresses Sanctity of Hindu Marriage, Nullifies Union Without Valid Ceremony


In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court underscored the sacred nature of Hindu marriage, emphasizing that it is not merely a social event but a profound sacrament that demands reverence and adherence to traditional rites and ceremonies. The Bench, comprising Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih, delivered this landmark judgment while addressing a case involving two commercial pilots seeking a divorce without a valid Hindu marriage ceremony.

The Court unequivocally declared that a Hindu marriage cannot be recognized in the absence of a valid ceremony under the Hindu Marriage Act, dismissing any notion that such unions could be established through mere documentation. Instead, the Bench upheld the significance of marriage as a 'samskara' and a sacrament, emphasizing its esteemed status as an institution deeply ingrained in Indian society.

Highlighting the legislative intent behind the Hindu Marriage Act, the Court stressed the importance of monogamy and the rejection of polyandry and polygamy. It emphasized that the Act aims to codify the law relating to marriage among Hindus and other communities falling under its expansive scope.

The Bench reiterated that a Hindu marriage must adhere to prescribed rites and ceremonies, such as the sacred 'saptapadi' ritual, which symbolizes the unity and equality of the spouses. Without such ceremonies, the marriage cannot be construed as valid under Hindu law, as outlined in Section 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

Furthermore, the Court clarified that while marriage registration facilitates proof of wedlock in disputed cases, it does not confer legitimacy to unions that have not undergone requisite ceremonies as mandated by law.

Drawing a distinction between the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act, 1954, the Court emphasized that the former imposes specific conditions and rituals for solemnizing a marriage, while the latter provides a broader framework for individuals of any race, caste, or creed to acquire marital status.

In exercising its plenary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court nullified the marriage certificate issued to the estranged couple, declaring it null and void due to the absence of a valid ceremony under the Hindu Marriage Act. Additionally, the Court quashed divorce proceedings and a dowry case lodged against the husband and his family members.

This landmark judgment reaffirms the sanctity of Hindu marriage and underscores the Court's commitment to upholding traditional values while interpreting and applying the law.

Author: Anushka Taraniya 

News Writer, MIT ADT University