A physical relationship coupled with sindur and mangalsutra don’t constitute a valid marriage, the Bombay high court has ruled, stressing on the importance of proper ceremonies and “due form” for a legal union between man and woman.
The court was hearing a petition involving a 40-year-old businessman and a 38-year-old woman, who said she was “married” in front of Krishna idol and he applied “sindur” to her forehead and tied a “mangalsutra” around her neck.
“Unless the marriage is celebrated or performed with proper ceremonies and in due form, it cannot be said to be solemnised.
They were in a physical relationship for 1.5 years and she wanted marital rights.
But the Bombay high court said the marriage couldn’t be valid under the 1955 Hindu Marriage Act as neither the community of the man nor the woman – Marwari and Brahmin respectively – recognized the union.
“Unless the marriage is celebrated or performed with proper ceremonies and in due form, it cannot be said to be solemnised,” said the bench led by justice BP Dharmadhikari.
The court overturned a 2015 family court verdict that ordered the restoring of marriage rights to the woman, who had two children from a previous marriage.
The bench pointed out that no one attended the “marriage” and neither friends nor family members recognised the two as “husband and wife”. The HC also refused to recognise the relationship as a live-in relationship as they never resided together under one roof.
The judges also took note of the fact that though the 38-year-old woman was divorced, she was staying in her matrimonial home along with her husband “for the sake of the children”. She approached the family court for restoring conjugal rights only after the parents of the businessman fixed his marriage with a woman from their own community.
Besides, the woman had also lodged a complaint alleging that the 40-year-old had sexually exploited her under the false promise of marriage and thus leveled charge of rape against him, but withdrew the complaint after the businessman paid her a sum of Rs 2 lakh, police said.