Observing that the 'saptapadi' ceremony is essential for a valid Hindu marriage, the Allahabad High Court has dismissed a complaint where a husband accused his estranged wife of marrying again without obtaining a divorce.
The court ruled that without the proper ceremonies and rituals, a marriage cannot be considered valid in the eyes of the law.
The 'saptapadi' ceremony, where the couple takes seven rounds around the sacred fire, is one of the key elements to constitute a valid Hindu marriage.
In a petition filed by Smriti Singh, Justice Sanjay Kumar Singh on 19 September stated that the word 'solemnise' in relation to a marriage means to celebrate it with proper ceremonies and in due form.
If a marriage is not celebrated or performed with the necessary ceremonies and due form, it cannot be considered 'solemnised'.
The court emphasised that the 'saptapadi' ceremony is essential for a valid marriage according to Hindu law.
The court referred to Section 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, which states that a Hindu marriage can be solemnised in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party.
The 'saptapadi' ceremony, where the seventh step is taken, is one of the rites that make the marriage complete.
The court dismissed the summoning order and further proceedings of the complaint case against the petitioner's wife, stating that there was no mention of the 'saptapadi' ceremony in the complaint or statements before the court. Therefore, no prima facie offence was established against the applicants.
In 2017, Smriti Singh married Satyam Singh, but their relationship turned acrimonious, leading her to leave her in-laws' house and file a first information report accusing them of dowry harassment. After an investigation, the police filed a chargesheet against her husband and in-laws.
In addition to the dowry harassment case, Smriti Singh also filed an application for maintenance, which was granted.
The family court's principal judge in Mirzapur ordered Satyam Singh to pay Rs 4,000 per month as maintenance until Smriti gets remarried. In response, the husband accused his wife of bigamy.
On 20 September 2021, Satyam Singh filed another complaint, alleging that Smriti had entered into a second marriage. As a result, the magistrate summoned Smriti on 21 April 2022. In response, she filed a petition before the High Court.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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