Upholding the Sanctity of Hindu Marriage: Key Insights from the Recent Supreme Court Verdict

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In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court of India emphasized the sacred nature of Hindu marriage and the necessity of adhering to proper ceremonies as outlined in the Hindu Marriage Act. This landmark decision, delivered by Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih, highlights the significance of marriage as a foundational institution in Indian society.

  • The Supreme Court stressed the necessity of adhering to prescribed ceremonies under the Hindu Marriage Act for a marriage to be valid.
  • Hindu marriages are not an episode for song and dance, nor a commercial deal.
  • Judiciary calls a marriage a ‘ sanskar’ and a ceremony of great value in Indian society.
  • The court reiterated the promotion of monogamy and the prohibition of other forms of marital arrangements under the Hindu Marriage Act.
  • While acknowledging the importance of marriage registration, the court clarified that registration alone does not confer legitimacy without the proper ceremony.
  • The Special Marriage Act of 1954 was distinguished from the Hindu Marriage Act, emphasizing the specific rituals mandated for Hindu marriages.

The Court underscored the sacred nature of Hindu marriage, viewing it as a “sanskara” or sacrament. This elevates it beyond a casual event, recognizing its profound impact on establishing a lifelong union between a man and woman. It stressed the importance of recognizing marriage as an institution of great value within Indian culture.

“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”.

In an order dated April 19, Justices B V Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih emphasized 

The court emphasized that Hindu marriage is a ‘sanskara’ or sacrament, and according to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, it must be performed with ceremonies in the proper form to be recognized. The Court firmly rejects the nota man and a woman, forming the basis of a family unit. It discourages treating this sacreion of a Hindu marriage being solely about “song and dance” or “wining and dining” but a solemn foundation that establishes the relationship between d institution as an occasion for extravagant celebrations or indulging in social pressures like dowry exchange. 

The court noted the legislative intent behind the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, which promotes monogamy and prohibits other forms of marital arrangements such as polyandry and polygamy. Also while acknowledging the importance of marriage registration for evidentiary purposes, the court clarified that registration alone does not confer legitimacy if the marriage lacks proper ceremony as per Section 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act.

Marriage is termed as sacred as it provides a lifelong togetherness, regalness grantee, consensual and healthy union of two individuals, court of appeal said a Hindu marriage facilitates procreation, merges the unit of family and solidifies the soul of companionship within various communities. The order provides the spiritual significance of Hindu marriage, citing the Rig Ved and emphasizing the equality of spouses in the union. Marriage is seen as a transformative and purifying process, laying the foundation for a new family. The emphasis lies on the core purpose of marriage – building a strong foundation for a future family. This highlights the importance of a conscious commitment between the partners, transcending superficial elements. 

■ Also Read: Dowry Free India: Dowry System is a curse for Society: Jagatguru Saint Rampal Ji Maharaj

The court explained, in Hindu tradition, a wife is considered as “ardhangini,” meaning half of oneself, signifying unity and partnership in marriage. However, she is also recognized as an individual with her own identity, deserving equal respect and status within the marital union. Rather than viewing one spouse as the “better-half,” Hindu marriage emphasizes equality, with both partners regarded as equal halves contributing to the marriage. In Hindu Law, marriage is regarded as a sacrament or sanskara, serving as the cornerstone for establishing a new family.

This judgment has far-reaching consequences. It can potentially help curb instances where individuals might exploit the legal framework by claiming a marriage without fulfilling the necessary rituals. It emphasizes the importance of traditions and rituals in creating a strong foundation for marriages, potentially leading to more stable and fulfilling partnerships. Additionally, it discourages the misuse of marriage for social or financial gains. 

According to Sant Rampal Ji Maharaj, marriage is a sacred bond predestined by God, and it should be solemnized without the burden of dowry or extravagant ceremonies. His followers, inspired by His teachings, participate in simple ceremonies called “Ramaini,” which last for just 17 minutes and involve no exchange of dowry or extravagant celebrations.

By embracing the essence of marriage as a spiritual union and rejecting societal pressures for dowry, individuals can pave the way for a more equitable and harmonious society. It is imperative to heed the wisdom of both the judiciary and Spiritual Leader Sant Rampal Ji Maharaj to uphold the sanctity of Hindu marriage and foster genuine, fulfilling relationships in society. Sant Rampal Ji Maharaj’s teachings encourage inter-caste and inter-religious marriages, promoting unity and equality among all individuals.

The verdict of the Supreme Court reaffirms the sacredness of Hindu marriage and the necessity of adhering to its traditional ceremonies. Simultaneously, the teachings of Sant Rampal Ji Maharaj provide a guiding light towards a society free from the evils of dowry and materialistic extravagance in weddings.

Sant Rampal Ji Maharaj, a spiritual leader and advocate for societal reform, has been instrumental in advocating for dowry-free marriages and promoting the sanctity of marital bonds. Sant Rampal Ji Maharaj advocates for a return to the ancient and sacred practices of Hindu marriage, emphasizing the need to abandon modern extravagance and harmful customs like dowry. He draws upon ancient texts like Shri Devipuran to illustrate the simplicity and purity of marriage ceremonies in earlier times. In Shree Devi Puran, the story of Goddess Durga marrying her three sons without elaborate rituals signifies the essence of true marriage – a sacred bond between two individuals without extravagance. 

He condemns the prevalent customs of dowry and extravagant weddings, which have led to societal ills such as female infanticide and strained family relationships. His teachings emphasize the spiritual significance of marriage and denounce the materialistic and exploitative practices associated with dowry.

By eliminating the dowry system and adhering to the true essence of marriage, society can alleviate the financial and emotional burdens faced by families and foster genuine, harmonious relationships.

1.What are the views of Saint Rampal Ji Maharaj on Hindu marriages?

Saint Rampal Ji Maharaj emphasizes the importance of ethical and sacred principles in Hindu marriages. He encourages simpler, sacred ceremonies that prioritize the sanctity of the union over materialistic extravagance and discourages practices like dowry.

2. Can a Hindu marriage be considered invalid without ceremonies?

According to the court’s judgement, yes, the absence of essential ceremonies can render a Hindu marriage invalid.

3. Does this mean Hindu weddings are just about rituals?

No, the court highlights that while ceremonies are important, the core purpose of Hindu marriage remains building a strong foundation for a future family based on a conscious commitment between partners. 

4. What does this judgement mean for extravagant wedding celebrations?

The court discourages treating Hindu marriage solely as a platform for lavish celebrations or social pressures like dowry exchange.

5. How does this judgement impact the legal framework of Hindu marriage?

This judgement can potentially help prevent individuals from exploiting legal loopholes by claiming marriage without fulfilling necessary rituals.

6. What are the broader societal implications of this ruling?

By upholding the sanctity of ceremonies, the court aims to strengthen the social fabric of the community by recognizing the importance of traditions in creating stable marriages.

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