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Marriage can be performed in a lawyer's chamber by garlanding each other: Supreme Court

The top court set aside the Madras HC judgement, which declared that a marriage conducted in secrecy with a few strangers around would not be valid as required under Sections 7 & 7-A of the Hindu Marriage Act.


Supreme Court of IndiaCredit- PTI File Photo

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a marriage can be performed by a couple in the advocate's chamber by a simple ceremony of garlanding each other or putting a ring upon the finger of the other person.


The top court set aside the Madras HC judgement, which declared that a marriage conducted in secrecy with a few strangers around would not be valid as required under Sections 7 & 7-A of the Hindu Marriage Act.


A bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Aravind Kumar said lawyers who are not acting in the capacity of the officer of the court, but in other capacities like that of a friend/relative/social activist can perform the marriage under Section 7(A) of the Hindu Marriage Act (Tamil Nadu State Amendment Act).


According to advocate A Velan, connected to the case, the top court overruled the mandate of the Madras High Court in 'Balakrishna Pandian vs The Superintendent of Police (2014) which it was held that marriages performed by the advocates are not valid and that Suyammariyathai marriage (self-respect marriage) cannot be solemnised in secrecy.



"Section 7-A applies to any marriage between two Hindus solemnised in the presence of relatives, friends or other persons. The main thrust of this provision is that the presence of a priest is not necessary for the performance of a valid marriage," the top court said.


It further said the parties can enter into a marriage in the presence of relatives or friends or other persons and each party to the marriage should declare in the language understood by the parties that each takes the other to be his wife or, as the case may be, her husband, and the marriage would be completed by a simple ceremony requiring the parties to the marriage to garland each other or put a

ring upon any finger of the other or tie a thali.


Any of these ceremonies, namely, garlanding each other or putting a ring upon any finger of the other or tying a thali would be sufficient to complete a valid marriage, it added.



The top court allowed an appeal against the Madras High Court of May 5, 2023 by which disciplinary action was ordered against the advocates, under who’s aegis the marriage allegedly by a minor girl was solemnised.


In its judgement in 2014, the High Court said we are very clear in our mind that even the protagonists of the Suyammariyathai/Seerthiruththa form of marriage did not visualise marriages being solemnised in secrecy.


"The very idea of performing marriages with celebration is to publicly declare the marital status of the parties. Even Thanthai Periyar used to conduct Suyamariyathai form of marriages publicly so that the world recognised the status of the couples. Hence, a celebration of marriage is not antithetical to the Suyammariyathai/Seerthiruththa form of marriage. Therefore, we are of the opinion that a marriage conducted in secrecy with few strangers around, be it Suyammariyathai form, will not amount to solemnisation, as required under Section 7 & 7-A of the Hindu Marriage Act,” the HC had said.


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