New Delhi: The marriage between a Hindu
and a non-Hindu solemnised as per the Hindu rites is neither
valid nor the parties can claim any benefits under the Hindu
Marriage Act (HMA), the Delhi High Court has ruled.
The High Court also held that "mere theoretical
allegiance" to Hinduism would not make one a Hindu unless he
or she had actually converted to the religion.
"Mere fact that the parties had solemnised the
marriage as per the Hindu rites and ceremonies would not
attract the applicability of the Hindu Marriage Act as the
mandate of the law is that marriage has to take place between
two Hindus," said Justice Kailash Gambhir in a recent
The court dismissed a petition filed by a woman, who
sought divorce under the HMA, claiming that her marriage with
a Christian had taken place at Arya Samaj temple as per Hindu
rituals in 2007 and said the parties were required to be Hindu
at the time of solemnisation of marriage.
"It is imperative to prove that both the parties were
Hindus at the time of the solemnisation of marriage," the
The court rejected the woman`s claim that her husband
had converted to Hinduism as she failed to furnish any
evidence to substantiate her claim.
"...A mere theoretical allegiance to the Hindu faith
by a person born in another faith does not convert him into a
Hindu, nor is a bare declaration that he is a Hindu sufficient
to convert him to Hinduism.
"The conversion from one religion to another religion
is a very major decision in one`s life and for proving such a
conversion, it is incumbent upon the appellant to place on
record complete facts and documentary material, if any, to
satisfy the court that based on such facts and supporting
material, the appellant had undergone change of religion."
The ruling came on a petition filed by Sangeeta, who
challenged the family court`s March 2010 order dismissing her
divorce petition on the ground that her husband Preston Gomes
is a Christian and there was no evidence to prove that he
converted to Hinduism.