8888677771 | Hindu marriage not valid without ‘saat pheras’, says Allahabad high court

PRAYAGRAJ: Observing that a Hindu marriage is not valid without the ‘saptapadi’ ceremony (taking seven rounds around the sacred fire) and other rituals, the Allahabad high court has quashed the entire proceedings of a complaint case, where the husband had sought punishment for his estranged wife, alleging that she had solemnized her second marriage without obtaining a divorce from him.
Allowing a petition filed by Smriti Singh, Justice Sanjay Kumar Singh on September 19 observed, “It is well settled that the word ‘solemnise’ means, in connection with a marriage, ‘to celebrate the marriage with proper ceremonies and in due form’. Unless the marriage is celebrated or performed with proper ceremonies and due form, it cannot be said to be ‘solemnised’. If the marriage is not a valid marriage …it is not a marriage in the eyes of law. The ‘saptapadi’ ceremony under the Hindu law is one of the essential ingredients to constitute a valid marriage.”
The court relied on Section 7 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, which provides that a Hindu marriage may be solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party thereto. Second, such rites include ‘saptapadi’, which makes the marriage complete when the seventh step is taken.Quashing the summoning order and further proceedings of the complaint case pending before a Mirzapur court against the petitioner wife, the court said: “Even there is no averment with regard to ‘saptapadi’ in the complaint as well as in the statements before the court. Hence, no prima-facie offence is made out against the applicants.”
Petitioner Smriti Singh was married off to Satyam Singh in 2017 but due to acrimonious relations, she left the house of her in-laws and lodged an FIR alleging harassment for dowry. Later, after investigation, the police submitted a chargesheet against her husband and in-laws.

The petitioner-wife also filed an application for maintenance, which was allowed and the principal judge, family court, Mirzapur, on January 11, 2021 directed the husband to pay Rs 4,000 as maintenance per month until she gets remarried. The husband gave an application alleging bigamy against his wife.
The husband filed another complaint on September 20, 2021, alleging inter alia that his wife had sanctified her second marriage. The magistrate on April 21, 2022, summoned the petitioner-wife, following which she filed the present petition before the HC.

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