Supreme Court Warns Against Trivializing Hindu Marriage as Mere Social Event, Emphasizes Sacred Institution

Supreme Court cautions against trivializing Hindu marriage, urging solemnity and respect for sacred institution amidst social events.

The Supreme Court delivered a significant message regarding the sanctity of Hindu marriage, emphasizing that it should not be reduced to a mere social event characterized by 'song and dance' and 'wining and dining'. Justices BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih stressed the importance of viewing marriage as a sacred institution, urging young individuals to contemplate its significance before entering into it.

"A Hindu marriage is a samskara and a sacrament which has to be accorded its status as an institution of great value in Indian society. Therefore, we urge 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," remarked the bench.

The court cautioned against treating marriage as a transaction or an occasion for demanding dowry or gifts, highlighting its role in establishing a lifelong union between a man and a woman, forming the foundation of a family, which is a fundamental unit of Indian society.

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Furthermore, the court criticized the practice of couples attempting to gain marital status without conducting a valid marriage ceremony. It emphasized that marriage is not a transaction but a sacred commitment between two individuals. The court advised against trivializing the institution of marriage, cautioning that failing to solemnize a marriage could lead to legal and social consequences regarding the marital status of the parties involved.

"In recent years, we have come across several instances where for 'practical purposes', a man and a woman with the intention of solemnization of their marriage at a future date seek to register their marriage under Section 8 of the Hindu Marriage Act on the basis of a document which may have been issued as proof of 'solemnization of their marriage' such as in the instant case," noted the court.

The court emphasized the importance of adhering to the procedures outlined in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, which acknowledges both the material and spiritual aspects of marriage. It stressed that the critical conditions for solemnizing a Hindu marriage should be diligently followed to uphold the sanctity of the institution.

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The court's remarks came during a hearing on a petition filed by a wife seeking the transfer of divorce proceedings. The husband and wife had jointly applied for a declaration that their marriage was not valid, claiming that they had not solemnized any marriage through customs, rites, or rituals.

However, they obtained a certificate of solemnization from Vadik Jankalyan Samiti (Regd.) and used it to register their marriage under the Uttar Pradesh Registration Rule, 2017. Upon noting that no marriage had actually been solemnized, the court ruled that there was no valid marriage.