The Allahabad High Court has recently held that Marriage Certificates issued by Arya Samaj have no statutory force. It was further held that in the absence of a valid marriage, the marriage certificate of Arya Samaj is not proof of a valid marriage.
The observation came from the bench of Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Justice Rajendra Kumar-IV which was dealing with a first appeal filed by one Ashish Morya challenging an order of the Principal Judge, Family Court, Saharanpur dismissing his application filed under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
Mourya had essentially filed a Section 9 HMA application seeking restitution of conjugal rights with the defendant, who he claimed to be his wife. However, the defendant-respondent clearly denied any marriage between her and the plaintiff-appellant.
The plaintiff/appellant claimed that both of them got married by following the rituals of Arya Samaj, and presented an Arya Samaj Trust marriage certificate, however, the Court refused to accept the factum of marriage as it noted that the plaintiff failed to place before the Court any statutory provisions enabling Arya Samaj to issue a marriage certificate.
"Learned counsel for the plaintiff-appellant has also completely failed to place before us any statutory provisions enabling the Arya Samaj to issue a marriage certificate. Thus, we have no difficulty holding that the Marriage Certificate issued by Arya Samaj has no statutory force...in the absence of a valid marriage, the marriage certificate of Arya Samaj is not proof of a valid marriage of the plaintiff-appellant and the defendant-respondent." the Court said.
The Court further noted that the plaintiff/appellant had neither led any evidence nor filed any certificate of marriage as proof of marriage under Section 8 of HMA,1955 read with the Uttar Pradesh Hindu Marriage Registration Rules, 1973, or the Uttar Pradesh Registration of Marriage Rules, 2017.
The Court also observed that as per Section 7 of the 1955 Act, a Hindu marriage may be solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party thereto and that where such rites and ceremonies include the Saptapadi i.e. the taking of seven steps by the bridegroom and the bride jointly before the sacred fire, the marriage becomes complete and binding when the seventh step is taken.
In view of this, the Court noted that it was an admitted case of the plaintiff/appellant that the rites and ceremonies of Saptapadi had not taken place in the alleged marriage of the plaintiff with the defendant on 29.06.2021 and therefore, the court said that factum of the marriage was not proved.
As far as his plea for restitution of conjugal rights was concerned, the Court noted that since there was no proof of valid marriage, therefore, the court below had not committed any error of law to dismiss the suit.
"In our view, the existence of a valid marriage is a precondition to ask for relief of restitution of conjugal rights. In the absence of proof of a valid marriage, under the facts and circumstances of the case; the court below has not committed any error of law to dismiss the suit observing that merely getting a marriage certificate from Arya Samaj is not proof of a valid marriage," the Court noted as it dismissed the appeal.
Case Title - Ashish Morya v. Anamika Dhiman [FIRST APPEAL No. - 830 of 2022]