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A man, who submitted a marriage certificate issued by Arya Samaj as a proof of his marriage, had sought relief of restitution of conjugal rights under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
While dismissing a plea seeking relief of restitution of conjugal rights, the Allahabad High Court recently observed that the marriage certificate issued by Arya Samaj has no statutory force.
The court observed that though the registration of a marriage itself cannot be a proof of valid marriage per se, and would not be the determinative factor regarding validity of a marriage, yet it has a great evidentiary value.
Court pointed out that Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (the HMA) provides for conditions for a Hindu marriage and as per Section 7 of the Act, a Hindu marriage may be solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party 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.
Court noted it was the admitted case of the man that the rites and ceremonies of Saptapadi had not taken place in the alleged Hindu marriage and his counsel also had failed to place before the court any statutory provisions enabling the Arya Samaj to issue a marriage certificate.
Court, accordingly, held that in the absence of a valid marriage, the marriage certificate of Arya Samaj was not proof of a valid marriage between the appellant and his alleged wife.
The plea before the court had been filed praying to set aside the judgment and order passed by the Family Court where the suit filed by a man under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (the HMA) had been dismissed.
In the suit before the Family Court, the alleged wife of the appellant had filed an application challenging the maintainability of the suit for restitution of conjugal rights where she had made serious allegation against the appellant that he had stolen her photographs from whatsapp and facebook and deceitfully got her signature on some papers alluring her for providing employment.
Allegations of rape were also levelled against the appellant by the woman who had also filed a case under Sections 384, 328, 506, 376, 427, 504 of the IPC against the man.
The bench of Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Justice Rajendra Kumar essentially adjudged the appeal on three points out of which two were— whether the marriage certificate issued by Arya Samaj, as submitted by the appellant, was proof of a valid marriage and whether he was entitled for a decree of restitution of conjugal rights under Section 9 of the HMA.
Regarding the second question, court held that existence of a valid marriage is a precondition to ask for relief of restitution of conjugal rights and since in the present case, there was no proof of a valid marriage, therefore, the appellant had been rightly denied the restitution of conjugal rights by the Family Court.
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