In this article, Anubhav Pandey put forth the marriage and divorce laws involved in Arya Samaj marriages.
Founded by Swami Dayananda Saraswati in 1875, Arya Samajis acquires a prominent place in India. How is Arya Samaj marriage solemnized? What is the legal validity of Arya Samaj marriage? Is the Arya Samaj marriage certificate valid? What is the divorce procedure according to Arya Samaj rituals? Is Arya Samaj marriage certificate valid for a passport? Let us try to understand the marriage and divorce procedure as per the Arya Samaj custom.
How is Arya Samaj marriage solemnised
- The ceremony of Arya Samaj marriage is conducted as per the Vedic ritual, and its validity is derived from Arya Samaj Marriage Validation Act, 1937 with provisions of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Hindu Marriage applies equally to Arya Samajis.
- Since the people belonging to Arya Samaj do not believe in Idol worship, therefore, their marriages are performed by different rituals than Hindus.
Marriage rituals in Arya Samaj
Arya Samaj marriage rituals are very simple and straight. Based on Vedic principles, all the hymns spelled during marriages are explained to the bride and groom. The marriage is just like Hindu marriage, marriage is centered around fire and is observed as the transition of wedding couple from Brahmacharya to Grihastha Ashram.
Who are eligible for an Arya Samaj marriage
- Age of the groom must be 21 and bride 18.
- Any person who is Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs can perform Arya Samaj Marriage.
- Any person who is not Muslims, Christians, Parsis or Jews can also perform Arya Samaj Marriage.
- Inter-Caste Marriages and Inter-Religious Marriages can also be performed in an Arya Samaj Marriage provided none of the marrying persons are Muslims, Christians, Parsis or Jews.
- If a non-Hindu couple would like to perform the marriage, the Samaj allows them to get converted through a process called Shuddhi. Muslims, Christians, Parsis or Jews, if, out of their free will and consent are ready to convert and embrace Hindu Religion, the Arya Samaj Mandir perform a ritual called shuddhi meaning purification for such conversion, and thereafter, such a convert can perform Arya Samaj Marriage.
Wedding rituals and procedure in Arya Samaj marriages
An Arya Samaj marriage takes around 1-2 hours for the completion of entire marriage. All one needs are basic paper requirements, two garlands, and sweets! The wedding rituals involved in marriage are:
- Booking of Arya Samaj Mandir in advance and submission of required papers.
- After successful registration Mandir will give you a date for marriage.
- Wedding rituals start with, enchanting of the holy Vedic hymn and its explanation by Pandit Ji. Then comes the garland exchange ritual, where, the bride garlands the groom first. Then washes his feet, hand, and face. Then comes the ritual of madhupark se satkar (consuming of honey, curd and ghee by the groom).
- Yagna begins with groom wearing a sacred thread.
- Kanya daan is observed followed by holy rounds around the fire.
- Kanya daan is followed by ‘Pratigya Mantra’, The groom holds the bride’s hand and together, they take their wedding vows.
- Shilarohan, where the brother of the bride places her foot on a stone, while the groom recites mantras.
- Bride and the groom do parikrama around the fire four times.
- Kesh Mochan, ritual involves the groom undoing his bride’s hair gently and letting it cascade down freely.
- Just as Hindus, saptapadi or seven holy circle around the fire is observed.
- Hridaya Sparsh, where, the couple touch each other’s hearts and promise to be tender-hearted and gentle with each other ending with the newly-weds viewing the Dhruv or the Pole Star.
Documents required for solemnisation of Arya Samaj Marriage
- 4 copies of coloured photograph of both bride and the groom
- Date of birth proof and address proof of both marrying parties.
- Bride and groom should be of competent age. 18 for bride and 21 for groom.
- Standing of two witnesses to witness the holy ceremony.
- In case where a marrying party is divorced, then, certified copy of divorce certificate issued by the court.
- In case where a marrying party is a widow, the death certificate of the dead spouse.
- Where a marrying party is a foreign citizen or holding a foreign passport or is having foreign residential address- Certificate of present marital status of the party/No Impediment Certificate/ NOC from concerned Embassy and Valid VISA
Registration of Arya Samaj Marriage
If you got married under the Arya Samaj Mandir then get this marriage registered under section 8 of the Act by the Marriage officer/Registrar of the district/state, where this marriage took place.
- After 2006, orders of Supreme Court are strict on the issue of registration of marriages in personal laws. An Arya Samaj marriage can be registered either under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The Hindu Marriage Act is applicable in cases where both husband and wife are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs or where they have converted into any of these religions. Where either of the husband or wife or both are not Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs, the marriage is registered under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
- Hindu Marriage Act places a responsibility upon the states to make laws regarding registration of the marriage but also places an emphasis that where a marriage is not registered, its non registration will not invalidate the marriage. It is often advised to get the marriage registered as per the Supreme court orders and, it is the correct way to avoid disputes in future regarding breakdown of marriage.
Registering Arya Samaj Marriage as per Hindu Marriage Act
- Registration is done with any Sub-divisional Magistrate, offline. Another option available at few jurisdictions like Delhi is of online registration. An appointment comes after 15 days.
- Fulfilling the formalities of registration form.
- Any document that provides the date of birth of the individuals.
- 2 passport size photographs of both the parties are required, also one marriage photograph and Marriage invitation card (optional).
- Attestation of gazetted officer is mandatory
- After fulfilling all the formalities, it is the duty of the district court to provide the couple a marriage certificate.
- A marriage registration cost around INR 100- 200.
Anant Naithani v State of Uttarakhand (2013)
In the said case the High Court of Uttarakhand observed that the Arya Marriage Validation Act, 1937 did provide for the grant of a marriage certificate nor authorised any person to do so. It was thus held that a marriage certificate issued by any Arya Samaj Mandir had no legal effect, except if a certificate was given by the person issuing the marriage certificate that he was a witness to the marriage.
Arya samaj marriages cannot get cancelled or divorce cannot happen in the arya samaj mandir, it only need to happen in the court, mandir are not proper authority to file an application for divorce. The divorce decree issued by the court is valid all around the globe.
June 30 2017 Union of India and another v. Deoki Nandan Aggarwal, AIR 1992 SC 96 and Balram Kumawat v. Union of India, (2003) 7 SCC 628, a single judge pass certain rule and directions when couple opt to marriage through arya samaj. So it was challenged by the gwalior bench of madhya pradesh that already rules have been issued by the arya samaj authorities and its their internal matter and contrary to the laws of the arya samaj validation act,1937. Therefore the decision of the single judge was not upheld and also said that he is not competent to issue such directions. Thus the court does not have any authority to issue any directions or rules when persons want to marry through arya samaj.
When the marriage is unregistered and for the divorce wife wishes to apply husband is not giving any respond to the wife then wife without the consent of husband can file the case on the ground of cruelty or for the demand of dower. Points stated should be backed by proper evidence to prove on mental cruelty.
Advantages of Marrying under Arya Samaj customs and rituals
- Arya Samaj marriages are very cost effective as Arya Samaj mandir charges very meager amount for the marriage.
- It takes place within few hours only.
- Only two witnesses are required, who may be anybody including parents, siblings, friends or anybody.
- In practicality, one can plan for an Arya Samaj marriage within 30 minutes, go to Arya Samaj Mandir and complete the rest ritual within an hour.
How to get a divorce in marriages solemnised under Arya Samaj Marriage customs
Divorce procedure to dissolve Arya Samaj marriages are as same as Hindu divorce procedure as per Hindu Marriage Act. Couples in a marriage can either file for a mutual divorce through consent or in cases where mutual consent is not present fight the divorce through contest.
Divorce in Arya Samaj through mutual consent
Section 13-B (divorce by mutual consent ) makes provision for divorce by mutual consent on the ground that-
- Both the parties to the marriage have been living separately for a period of one year or more,
- They have not been able to live together, and
- They have now mutually agreed for the dissolution of the marriage.
Procedure of divorce through mutual consent in Arya Samaj
- Both the parties need to file together a petition seeking divorce before the District court.
- Before filing of the petition, married couple should make sure that they are living separately for a period of one year or more. After petition is allowed, parties are required for filing of statement
- Couple seeking divorce by mutual consent will have to give reason why they are not able to live together and mention in the petition that they have not been able to live together and that they have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved.
- Court after a period of 6 months and not more than 18 months (cooling-off period) will give a date for listening to the parties.
If the case is withdrawn or the parties do not move to court at the given date(s), the petition stands cancelled. After hearing to the parties and on being satisfied, court may pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage to be dissolved.
Divorce in Arya Samaj without mutual consent
- If other party in a marriage have sexual intercourse with someone else after solemnization of the marriage, it results in a valid ground for divorce without mutual consent under the Hindu Marriage Act;
- After the solemnization of the marriage, treated the partner with cruelty;
- The other party has deserted the divorce seeker for a continuous period of not less than two years, immediately preceding the presentation of the petition;
- The other party has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion;
- The other party has been incurably of unsound mind, or has been suffering continuously or intermittently from mental disorder of such a kind and to such an extent, that the divorce seeker cannot reasonably be expected to live with the other party in a marriage.
- The other party has been suffering from a virulent and incurable form of leprosy;
- The other party has been suffering from venereal disease in a communicable form;
- The other party has renounced the world by entering any religious order;
- The other party has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by those persons who would naturally have heard of it, if the party had been alive.
A wife in an Arya Samaj marriage can, under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, contest for divorce without mutual consent on the following grounds that the husband had married again or that any other wife of the husband married before the contented marriage was alive at the time of the solemnization of the marriage of the petitioner, provided that, in either case, the other wife is alive at the time divorce is contested.
Guidelines issued by Gwalior Bench HC on Arya Samaj marriage:
Certain guidelines has been issued by the gwalior bench on arya samaj mandir marriage rituals before getting marriage certificate:
- When bride and bridegroom decides to tie a knot in front of the arya samaj mandir, it shall be the duty of the management to first issue notice to the parents/families at the said addresses with the photographs of bride and bridegroom
- If any kind of objections has been received that will be dealt by the mandir management by verifying all the facts and if required, help of the local police can be taken.
- Class 10th marksheet of bride and bridegroom will be taken to verify date of birth of each of them.
- If the bride and bridegroom are not educated, then there date of birth will be verified from the help of the family members or through the medical ossification at the government hospital or by the medical practitioner recognized by the government with proper seal.
- The original address of the bride and bridegroom will also be verified by the documents like AADHAR card, PAN card or maybe by an enquiry , and if required by the local police.
- After considering all the facts as mentioned above by verifying them and observing the bonafide intention of bride and bridegroom to solemnize the marriage, the management of mandir will solemnize the marriage with due observance of the saptapadi, all rites, ritual and ceremonies depending upon the financial status of the bride and the groom. The marriage will take place in presence of two witness of each side with their identity proof and residential proof with personal notarized affidavit and non judicial stamp paper which is value of rupees 100 or more which says that they know bride/bridegroom personally.
- Every process of solemnization of marriage like saptapadi, any rituals, ceremonies will be recorded by the arya samaj mandir through videography.
- Thereafter, marriage certificate may be issued to the bride/bridegroom by the authorized signatory of the mandir management.
- The arya samaj mandir management will also keep a copy of documents and recording of the entire process of the marriage.
- From the order of district head of police, the station house officers will conduct enquiry and verify from the arya samaj mandir within their jurisdiction, in event complaints are made of missing girl, fraud, manipulation in the matter of solemnization of marriage, in the police stations