May 4, 2024 In Uncategorized


A two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice B.V. Nagarathna and Justice Augustine George Masih passed an Order dated 19.04.2024 in Dolly Rani v. Manish Kumar Chanchal Transfer Petition (C) No(S). 2043/2023 wherein the Apex Court held that the Petitioner and the Respondent never acquired the status of husband and wife as per the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 as their marriage was not solemnized as per the Hindu Rites and Rituals.


The Petitioner (Wife) and the Respondent (Husband) are both trained commercial Pilots, who were engaged to be married on 07.03.2021. The Petitioner and the Respondent (Parties) claimed to have had their marriage ‘solemnized’ on 07.07.2021 and also obtained a Marriage Certificate from ‘Vadik Jankalyan Samiti (Regd.)’.  Based on the said Certificate, the Parties obtained the ‘Certificate of Registration of Marriage’ under the Uttar Pradesh Marriage Registration Rules, 2017.

The families of the Parties fixed the date of performing the marriage ceremony as per Hindu Rites and Customs on 25.10.2022.  During the entire period, the Parties lived separately and the marriage ceremony never happened. Later, differences ignited between the Parties and the Petitioner claimed that the Respondent’s family demanded dowry from her.

On 17.11.2022, the Petitioner filed an F.I.R under Sections 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty), 420 IPC (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 506 IPC (Punishment for criminal intimidation, If threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, etc.), 509 IPC (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 34 IPC (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), and Sections 3 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (DP Act) (Penalty for giving or taking dowry) Section 4 of DP Act (Penalty for demanding dowry) against the Respondent and his family members alleging harassment.

The Respondent also claimed that there was no marriage between the Parties but as the marriage was registered before the Registrar of Marriages; therefore, the Respondent had to file for Divorce by Mutual Consent case bearing no. M.C. No.82/2023 in Ld. Family Court, Muzaffarpur, Bihar.

The Petitioner also filed a Maintenance Case No.326/2023 against the Respondent at Ranchi, Jharkhand. Later, the Petitioner filed the present Transfer Petition bearing no. 2043/2023 seeking transfer of the Divorce Petition from Bihar to Jharkhand under Section 25 of Code of Civil Procedure 1908 (CPC) (Power of Supreme Court to transfer suits, etc.).

A joint Application under Article 142 of the Constitution (Enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court and orders as to discovery, etc.) was filed before the Supreme Court by the Parties as per their will, with no pressure or undue influence from any side. In the aforementioned joint motion Application, owing to a settlement arrived between the Parties, the Petitioner sought quashing of the Maintenance Case, the Criminal Case, and the procedures thereunder against the Respondent and his parents.

The Parties prayed for declaration that no marriage took place between them and thereby permit them to lead their independent lives.


I) Whether the marriage was solemnized as per Hindu Rites and Customs?

II) Whether the Apex Court has the power to declare the ‘Marriage Certificate’ issued by the Vadik Jankalyan Samiti (Regd.) and ‘Certificate of Registration of Marriage’ issued by the Registrar of Marriages as null and void?

Decision by Supreme Court

The Apex Court stated that the Parties did not have a “marriage” because no customs, ceremonies, or rituals were performed throughout the period. However, due to some constraints and exigencies, they were forced to obtain the Certificate from Vadik Jankalyan Samiti (Regd.), and on the basis of such Certificate, they applied for registration under the Uttar Pradesh Registration Rules, 2017, and the Registrar of Marriages issued a “Certificate of Marriage.” As a result, if they did not marry as per the Hindu ceremonies, the issuance of the Certificate would be irrelevant.

The Hon’ble Court took note of Section 7 of the HMA (Ceremonies for a Hindu marriage), which deals with Hindu marriage rites and ceremonies. The Hon’ble Court recognised that Sub-section (1) includes the term “solemnised,” which means to perform the marriage with necessary rituals. Marriage cannot be regarded to be “solemnised” unless and until it is performed with appropriate rites and in proper form.

The Apex Court took note of Section 8 of the HMA (Registration of Hindu marriages) and provided that it is open for two Hindus married under the provisions of the HMA to have their marriage registered provided they fulfil the conditions laid down therein regarding performance of requisite ceremonies. It is only when the marriage is solemnized in accordance with Section 7, then only a marriage can be registered under Section 8.

The Supreme Court further observed that a Hindu marriage is a sacrament and has a sacred character and provides that the vows made to each other by the parties to a Hindu marriage, as well as the oath they take to stay together, creates the groundwork for a life-long commitment between the spouses, which they must fulfil. If the couple maintains such a devotion to each other, there will be considerably fewer incidents of marriage collapse resulting in divorce or separation.

Hence, in the present case the Bench declared that the ‘marriage’ between the present Parties is not a ‘Hindu marriage’ having regard to the provisions of Section 7 of the HMA. Consequently, the Certificate issued by the Vadik Jankalyan Samiti and Certificate issued under the Uttar Pradesh Registration Rules, 2017 were declared null and void. The Hon’ble Court further declared that the Petitioner and the Respondent were not married in accordance with provisions of the HMA and therefore have never acquired the status of husband and wife. The Apex Court also quashed the 3 cases filed by the Parties against each other.


The Supreme Court in the current judgement placed emphasis on the importance of Hindu Rites and Ceremonies in order to solemnize a Hindu marriage. The Hon’ble Court also provided that Hindu marriages are considered a sacred bond and shall not be considered as a commercialised transaction. The Apex Court also stated that a marriage is not an event for ‘song and dance’ and ‘wining and dining’ or an occasion to demand and exchange dowry and gifts by undue pressure leading to possible initiation of criminal proceedings thereafter.

As a result, based on the above observations the Bench allowed the joint Application filed under Article 142 of the Constitution seeking declaration that the Marriage of the Parties was not valid. The Bench thereby disposed of the Transfer Petition.



Arjav Jain


The Indian Lawyer

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