Marriage certificate issued without rituals null and void: Bombay High Court

On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court turned down a four-year-old certificate of registration of marriage obtained by a Thane resident and his girlfriend on grounds that it lacked the sanctity, as no rites for solemnising a marriage was performed, and also observed that the Thane Family Court was not justified in rejecting his plea.

The appellant had moved the HC after the Thane Family Court had rejected his plea on November 16, 2017.

He had sought a declaration that the marriage registration certificate issued by the Thane Municipal Corporation on September 29, 2016, which stated that he married his girlfriend on July 28, 2016, at a local Mandal, which solemnises marriages, was illegal and that he was still a bachelor.

He said that he had fallen in love with one of his colleagues at a gymnasium, where both of them worked. Though they were keen to get married, they were apprehensive that their family members might not accept the match.

They hatched a plan to convince their family members. They obtained a marriage registration certificate from a local Mandal and had planned to reveal to their family members about tying the nuptial knot.

But the woman’s parents were annoyed when she disclosed the plan. They compelled her to lodge a police complaint at Rajaram police station in Ratnagiri district, alleging that she was abducted and her signatures were forcibly obtained to get hold of the forged marriage registration certificate. A case was registered against the man and some other persons.

Later, the dispute was settled amicably.

The HC held that the family court was not justified in rejecting the appellant’s plea.

It said under section 7(1) of the Family Court’s Act a suit or proceeding for a declaration as to the validity of a marriage or as to the matrimonial status of any person is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the court and that the Thane resident’s plea fell in that category.

“The respondent woman (his purported wife) has not disputed these facts,” said the HC bench. “She is not opposing the prayers made before the Family Court at all. The Family Court was not justified in dismissing the petition filed by the appellant on the ground of lack of jurisdiction,” it added.

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