Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.[i] According to Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary, religion means a belief binding the spiritual nature of man to a supernatural being as involving a feeling of dependence and responsibility, together with the feelings and practices which naturally flow from such a belief.
Every codified marriage legislations in India have stipulated proper condition in regard to valid marriage. Marriage is pure institution which is recognized as a legal union of two individual. Through this institution there are certain rights and obligations which are conferred on both the individuals who enter into wedlock.
CONDITIONS OF VALID MARRIAGE UNDER HINDU MARRIAGE ACT:
There are five essentials of valid Hindu marriage which is mentioned under section 5 of Hindu marriage act, 1955. But before that there are two more prerequisites that are important and they are-
1. Marriage must be solemnized. (Solemnize is word related to personal law. Section 7 of HMA states that how can Hindu marriage be solemnized)
2. Between two Hindus (section 2 of HMA).
The related essential is as follows-
Monogamy is a rule whereas bigamy is an exception i.e. no person who is a Hindu can solemnize the marriage in the lifetime of the spouse. If the marriage is solemnized then it will be considered as void marriage under section 11 of HMA. Second marriage is the marriage which has no legal consensus and it is considered as a void marriage since the beginning. No nullity of the court is required in this case. Children born out of this marriage are considered as an illegitimate child.
The first wife of that marriage if gets to know that the husband has solemnized another marriage then she can claim certain remedies-
i. She can file a declaration suit (Section 34 of Specific Relief Act)
ii. She can file an injunction suit (section 39 of Civil Procedure Code)
If the second marriage is properly solemnized according to the provisions mentioned under section 7 of HMA then that person will be held liable under section 494 and 495 of IPC. If a person is under the decree of judicial separation then to he cannot solemnize another marriage because still the first marriage is not dissolved and it is just a temporary suspension of marriage. Muslim males are not included under this because under Islam they can have four wives.
INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE: NOT A JOKE
People all around have treated this institution as a joke. But the court takes it very seriously. There are incidences wherein the individuals convert themselves into a different religion just for the sake of getting married to person of that particular religion. When this started to increase then the court took a decision which has been delivered by Allahabad high court few days back. The court gave a decision wherein it stated that conversion of religion for marrying is not acceptable.
In this case the first petitioner i.e. Priyanshi alias Samreen had converted her religion without having any knowledge about Islam a month before her marriage which clearly indicates the court that the conversion of religion was done with the purpose of getting married. The petition was filed by the girl stating that after she had married her family members are inferring too much in her marriage. To this the court rejected the plea and stated that high court cannot interfere in the cases which fall under article 226 of the constitution of India. Thenafter, Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi stated the Noor jahan case discussed below and decided the case on 23rd September, 2020.
Before this judgment there was one more case which was decided by the court in 2014. The case name is Noor Jahan Begum & Anr. v. State of U.P. & Ors. In this case it was recognized conversion of religion to Islam, in the present set of facts, of the girls without their faith and belief in Islam and at the instance of the boys, solely for the purpose of marriage, cannot be said to be a valid conversion to Islam religion.[iii] These marriages (Nikah) are against the mandate in Sura II Ayat 221 of the Holy Quran.[iv] Therefore, the court gave the judgment that conversion of religion is not acceptable if the individuals do it just for marriage purpose.
After the judgment was delivered by Allahabad High court then there were states who took initiative to encourage the judgment as they are likely to enact law which bans the conversion of religion just for the sake of marriage. Some examples are- Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, etc.
By the above factual and analytical explanation, it is very much clear that a person can convert his or her religion but it should not be converted only to have a marriage. A person who does not know anything about any religion and converts to tat specific religion just for marriage purpose then that will be considered as invalid. Religion and marriage are two very important aspects of a individual’s life which can be played with. Therefore, the court has tried it best so that it can prohibit people from doing so.
[i] Religion available at https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/religion.htm (accessed on 03/11/2020 at 4:48 PM).
[ii] Family Law And Religion -The Indian Experience by Anil Malhotra and Ranjit Malhotra available .5at https://www.iafl.com/media/1180/family_law_and_religion_the_indian_experience.pdf (accessed on 03/11/2020 at 7:20 PM).
[iii] Conversion for sake of marriage not accepted: Allahabad High Court available at https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/religious-:conversion-for-sake-of-marriage-not-acceptable-allahabad-high-court-2318434 (accessed on 04/11/2020 at 7:50 PM).
[iv] Conversion for sake of marriage not accepted: Allahabad High Court available at https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/religious-:conversion-for-sake-of-marriage-not-acceptable-allahabad-high-court-2318434 (accessed on 04/11/2020 at 8:10 PM).
Author: Anchal Jaiswal