Marriage between Christian and Hindu performed as per Hindu rites not invalid for purposes of claiming maintenance: Punjab & Haryana HC [Read Judgment]

Marriage between Christian and Hindu performed as per Hindu rites not invalid for purposes of claiming maintenance: Punjab & Haryana HC [Read Judgment]

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that, a marriage between a Christian and a Hindu performed as per the Hindu rites with the full consent of both parties cannot be said to be invalid for purposes of claiming maintenance under Section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code.

Justice Anita Chaudry also observed that no provisions of Hindu Marriage Act renders a marriage between a Hindu and a Christian void or voidable on the ground that the parties belong to two different religions. The Court also held that Section 4 of Indian Christian Marriage Act does not envisage as regards the validity or otherwise of a marriage simplicitor that took place between a Hindu and a Christian.

Referring to provisions of Hindu Marriage Act, the Court said “As per Section 11 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the marriages performed in contravention of Clauses (i), (iv) and of Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act are void, whereas under Section 12 of the said Act, for contravention of any of the conditions enumerated therein, the marriages are voidable. It is necessary to notice that neither Section 11 nor Section 12 of the said Act renders a marriage between a Hindu and a Christian void or voidable on the ground that the parties belong to two different religions.”

Rejecting the contention of the Husband-petitioner that it is void on account of Section 4 of Indian Christian Marriage Act the Court observed “The rigour of voidness covered by Section 4 of the Indian Christian Marriage Act is stressed and attached more to the persons that officiate in the solemnisation of the marriages, and it does not envisage as regards the validity or otherwise of a marriage simplicitor that took place between a Hindu and a Christian. This view is again fortified by Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act, which permits a marriage between two persons of different faiths. Therefore, a Hindu can marry a Christian under the Special Marriage Act. Such a marriage cannot be held to be void on the ground that it was not performed according to the provisions of Section5 of the Indian Christian Marriage Act. Similarly, Section 4 of the Foreign Marriage Act permits a marriage between parties, one of whom at least is an Indian citizen residing outside India. On a similar analogy as noted supra, even a marriage under this Act, if performed between a Hindu and a Christian both or one of whom is an Indian citizen, cannot be held to be void on the ground that it is not performed in accordance with the provisions of Section 5 of the Indian Christian Marriage Act.”

Read the Judgment here.