SC: Any Marriage Between Inter-Faith Couples under Hindu Marriage Act is Void

Guwahati: The Hindu Marriage Act forbids interfaith unions and the Supreme Court has stated that only Hindus may wed in accordance with the same statute.

On Friday, a plea challenging a Telangana High Court order from August 2017 was being heard by a bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna.

The case has been continued by the court for a hearing in February.

The Telangana High Court had declined to halt the petitioner’s Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) legal actions.

According to Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), anyone who marries while their husband or wife is still alive and the marriage is void because it occurred while they were still alive faces fines and imprisonment of either kind for a period that might last up to seven years.

In Hyderabad, a complaint was made in 2013 asserting that the petitioner was in reality married to the complainant in February 2008 in accordance with Hindu rituals, making their union governed by the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955.

According to the petitioner, the Defacto Complainant was not married by the Petitioner in accordance with Hindu rites or customs, and that the Petitioner has been falsely accused in the case and has not committed any crime, much less the alleged crime.

The petitioner asserted that she was never married to her, and that she has not provided any evidence of the claimed marriage between them because it never happened.

The complainant is a Hindu, but the petitioner identified himself as a Christian.

The petitioner further argued that there is no evidence to support the claim that he married a different woman while his marriage to the complainant was still active. As a result, the petitioner claimed, the main elements of the offence under Section 494 of the IPC are not proven, and bringing a case against him under that section is unjust, illegal, and out of bounds.

The petitioner additionally argued that, as required by the Special Marriage Act for interfaith weddings, the purported marriage was never registered after the alleged ceremony nor was it documented before the said ceremony.

The petitioner stated that the accusations made against him are completely untrue, fabricated, and without a shred of truth. He further stated that the engagement ceremony cannot be considered a marriage ceremony, and even if such a marriage did occur as claimed by the Second Respondent, it would be void because the petitioner is a Christian by religion and has never converted to Hinduism.

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