Arya Samaj Marriage certificate which is provided by arya samaj mandir to married couple this is legally valid in all over India but you should register your marriage in marriage register office on the basis of this certificate.
A bench of Justices Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Rajendra Kumar made the observation while listening to a plea by Ashish Morya, who challenged an order of Family Court in Saharanpur which had rejected his application filed under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
Section 9 of the Act deals with the restitution of conjugal rights.
The plaintiff and appellant claimed they were married according to the Arya Samaj rituals and even presented an Arya Samaj Trust marriage certificate before the court. However, the bench refused to accept it.
“Learned counsel for the plaintiff-appellant has also completely failed to place before us any statutory provisions enabling the Arya Samaj Mandir to issue a marriage certificate. Thus, we have no difficulty holding that the marriage certificate issued by Arya Samaj has no statutory force…in the absence of a valid marriage, the marriage certificate of Arya Samaj is not proof of a valid marriage of the plaintiff-appellant and the defendant-respondent,” LiveLaw cited the High Court as saying.
What is Arya Samaj and what is the legality of the marriage certificates it issues? What have previous rulings said on the validity of Arya Samaj marriage certificates? Let’s take a look.
What is Arya Samaj?
Founded in 1875 by Dayananda Sarasvati, Arya Samaj aims to “reestablish the Vedas, the earliest Hindu scriptures, as revealed truth”, as per Britannica.
This reform movement of modern Hinduism has a large following in western and northern India, the Britannica website notes.
The Arya Samaj is against the worship of murtis (idols), animal sacrifice, child marriage, pilgrimages, temple offerings, among others.
Couples can get married in an Arya Samaj ceremony which bears a similarity to the rituals of a Hindu wedding.
An Arya Samaj marriage is valid as per the Arya Samaj Marriage Validation Act, 1937, and under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
A groom aged 21 or older and a bride aged 18 or more can obtain a marriage certificate from the Arya Samaj, notes India Today.
The certificate can be granted by any Arya Samaj temple after the wedding ceremony concludes.
The Arya Samaj temples allow intercaste and interreligious marriages, provided the parties are not Muslims, Christians, Parsis or Jews, reports India Today.
Notably, any marriage certificate issued by any Arya Samaj organisation does not mean a marriage has been registered legally.
A marriage certificate by Arya Samaj cannot be considered a valid legal document on its own.
Thus, after getting the Arya Samaj marriage certificate, the marriage has to be recorded at the sub-divisional magistrate’s office.
Explaining the legality of marriage certificates, SM Hussaini, a sub-registrar, told Deccan Herald, “According to the Hindu Marriage Act, certificates can be issued after marriage is registered in a sub-registrar office in whose jurisdiction either the groom or bride should be residing.”
Recent rulings on validity of Arya Samaj marriage certificates
In June this year, the Supreme Court had ruled that Arya Samaj cannot issue marriage certificates. While hearing a bail application of a man accused of kidnapping and raping a minor, the apex court refused to accept a marriage certificate issued by the Arya Samaj as proof.
The petitioner’s counsel claimed that the prosecutrix in the rape case was a major, who was married to the accused at an Arya Samaj ceremony.
The top court, however, said that it was not Arya Samaj’s job to issue marriage certificates.
As per Indian Express, a bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and BV Nagarathna said, “Arya Samaj has no business giving a marriage certificate. This is the work of the authorities.”
In April this year, while listening to a matter from Madhya Pradesh, the Supreme Court had said that weddings solemnised through the Arya Samaj do not require registration under the Special Marriage Act.
However, this does not mean that the marriages conducted through Arya Samaj do not need to be registered legally.
The Allahabad High Court observed in September this year that certificates issued by the Arya Samaj alone “do not prove the legality of a marriage”.
While dealing with a habeas corpus petition, Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery said of the High Court said as per PTI, “The court has been flooded with the marriage certificates issued by different Arya Samaj societies which have been seriously questioned during different proceedings before this court as well as by other high courts.”
In a harsh rebuke, the court observed that “the said institution has misused their beliefs in organising the marriages without even considering the genuineness of documents”.