Allahabad High Court Rules 'Kanyadan' Not Essential for Valid Hindu Marriage

Allahabad High Court, led by Justice Subhash Vidyarthi, declares 'Kanyadan' unnecessary for Hindu marriages. Emphasizes 'Saptpadi' as essential, dismissing petition seeking witness recall in Lucknow case.

The Allahabad High Court recently said that 'Kanyadan' isn't a must-have ritual for a Hindu marriage. Justice Subhash Vidyarthi, leading the bench, pointed out that the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 only mentions 'Saptpadi' as essential, not 'Kanyadan.'

"The Hindu Marriage Act merely provides saptpadi as an essential ceremony of a Hindu marriage and it does not provide that the ceremony of kanyadan is essential for solemnization of a Hindu marriage," the Court said.

The law allows Hindu marriages to follow customary practices. If the couple takes seven steps together around the sacred fire, their marriage becomes official. This is what the law emphasizes.

The Court discussed this during a case in Lucknow. The petitioner wanted to re-examine witnesses due to inconsistencies in earlier statements about a marriage certificate from 2015. They claimed 'Kanyadan' was essential and wanted to check if it happened.

However, the trial court rejected the request under Section 311 of the Criminal Procedure Code, stating it wasn't necessary to prove 'Kanyadan' for a valid marriage.

"Whether the ceremony of Kanyadan was performed or not, would not be essential for the just decision of the case and, therefore, a witnesses cannot be summoned under Section 311 Cr.P.C. for proving this fact," the Court held.

The High Court agreed, emphasizing that proving 'Kanyadan' wasn't crucial for deciding the case. The Court said that while it has the power to summon witnesses, it should only do so when absolutely necessary for justice, not just because someone asks for it.

"There can be no denial of the fact that this Court has ample power to summon any witness under Section 311 Cr.P.C., the power cannot be exercised in a casual manner on the mere asking of a litigant. This power has to be exercised merely only when it is essential to summon a witness for a just decision of a case," the Court said.

Advocates Girdhari Lal Yadav, Priyanka Pal, Satendra Kumar, and Shivesh Yadav represented the petitioner, while Government Advocate Abhishek Kumar Singh represented the State.