Observing that a Hindu marriage is not valid without ‘Saptapadi’ ceremony and other rituals, the Allahabad High Court has quashed the proceedings of a case where a man alleged that his estranged wife had solemnised second marriage without divorcing him.
Allowing a petition filed by Smriti Singh, Justice Sanjay Kumar Singh observed, “It is well settled that the word ‘solemnize’ 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 solemnized.” “If the marriage is not a valid marriage, according to the law applicable to the parties, 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 but the said evidence is lacking in the present case,” the court said in a recent order.
The court also relied on the 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. Secondly, such rites and ceremonies include the ‘Saptapadi’ (taking seven steps by groom and bride jointly around the sacred fire), which makes the marriage complete and binding when the seventh step is taken.
While quashing the summoning order dated April 21, 2022 and further proceedings of complaint case pending before a Mirzapur court against the wife, the petitioner, 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, this court is of the view that no prima-facie offence is made out against the applicant as the allegation of second marriage is a bald allegation without corroborative materials”.
The wedding of petitioner Smriti Singh was solemnized with Satyam Singh in 2017 but due to acrimonious relations, she left the house of in-laws and lodged an FIR alleging harassment for dowry. After investigation, the police submitted a charge sheet against the husband and in-laws.
Later, Satyam gave an application to higher police officials making allegation of bigamy against his wife. The said application was thoroughly investigated by the circle officer Sadar, Mirzapur and allegations of bigamy against Smriti was found to be false.
Thereafter, Satyam filed a complaint case on September 20, 2021 against his wife making allegations inter-alia that she had sanctified her second marriage. The magistrate concerned of Mirzapur on April 21, 2022 summoned Smriti. Hence she filed the present petition before the high court challenging the summoning order and the entire proceedings of complaint case.
The counsel for the petitioner-wife contended that aforesaid complaint and summoning order is nothing but a counter-case against applicant on account of FIR lodged by her against Satyam’s family members.