The Allahabad High Court has observed that a marriage certificate issued by Arya Samaj has no statutory force.

The Court also held that in the absence of a valid marriage, the marriage certificate of Arya Samaj is not a proof of valid marriage.

The Bench of Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Justice Rajendra Kumar-IV observed that the Plaintiff-Appellant has failed to place any statutory provisions before the Court that enable the Arya Samaj to issue a marriage certificate and thus held –

"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 to hold that Marriage Certificate issued by Arya Samaj has no statutory force."

In this case, the Plaintiff-Appellant was aggrieved with the impugned judgment passed by the Principal Judge, Family Court, Saharanpur, whereby the Court had dismissed the Appellant's application filed under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The Defendant-Respondent in her written statement had denied any marriage between her and the Plaintiff-Appellant. She had made several allegations in her written statement and specifically stated the story of a marriage is totally false and in fact, there was no marriage at all and the plaintiff-appellant is regularly attempting to blackmail her. The Court was also informed that she had lodged an FIR against him under Sections 384, 328, 506, 376, 427, and 504 IPC in which a charge sheet has been filed by the Police.

The Court noted, "Arya Samaj, a vigorously reforming sect of modern Hinduism, founded in the year 1875 by the great saint and reformer Swami Dayanand Saraswati; is a reformist movement which believes in one God and in the Vedas as the books of true knowledge. The Arya Samaj opposes the caste system based upon birth as unvedic and insist that castes should reflect merit. The Arya Samaj has sought to revitalize Hindu life and instil self-confidence and national pride amongst Hindus with the watch word of Swami Daya Nand "Back to the Vedas."

Further, the Court also held that the Plaintiff-Appellant had neither led any evidence nor filed any certificate of marriage as proof of marriage under Section 8 of the Act, 1955 read with the Uttar Pradesh Hindu Marriage Registration Rules, 1973 or the Uttar Pradesh Registration of Marriage Rules, 2017.

The Bench added, "Section 7 of the Act, 1955 provides for ceremonies of a Hindu marriage that 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."

"The defendant-respondent has also made serious allegation of rape etc. against the plaintiff-appellant and lodged FIR No.475 of 2021 under Sections 384, 328, 506, 376, 427, 504 I.P.C.. P.S. Sadar Bajar in which chargesheet has also been filed by the police. Thus, in the absence of a valid marriage, marriage certificate of Arya Samaj is not proof of a valid marriage of the plaintiff-appellant and the defendant-respondent," the Court held.

The Bench held that the existence of a valid marriage is a precondition to ask for relief of restitution of conjugal rights, and thus observed-

"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 mere getting a marriage certificate from Arya Samaj is not proof of a valid marriage."

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the appeal.

Earlier, the High Court in a different case had directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Prayagraj to get an investigation conducted in the manner and methodology of functioning of Arya Samaj Kydganj, Prayagraj through its alleged Pradhan Santosh Kumar Shastri while issuing marriage certificates.

Also, the Court in a Habeas Corpus petition had observed that the Arya Samaj institutions have misused their beliefs in organizing marriages without even considering the genuineness of documents.

Cause Title – Ashish Morya v. Anamika Dhiman

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