Solemnization essential to make a Hindu Marriage Valid

Rites & ceremonies essential to make a marriage valid

The Supreme Court (SC) in Dolly Rani v. Manish Kumar Chanchal [2024 INSC 355], state’s that for a Hindu marriage to be valid in law, it must be performed with the appropriate rites and ceremonies, such as saptapadi (seven steps around the sacred fire) if included, and the proof of these ceremonies is essential in case of disputes.

In other words, for a valid marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA), the requisite ceremonies have to be performed and there must be proof of performance of the ceremony when an issue or controversy arises.

Registration alone would not make the marriage valid

Unless the parties have undergone such ceremony, there would be no Hindu marriage according to Section 7 of the HMA and a mere issuance of a certificate by an authority in charge of registration, in the absence of the requisite ceremonies having been performed, would neither confirm any marital status to the parties nor establish a marriage under the Hindu law.

Registration is just to ensure proof of marriage

The SC states that while registration of a Hindu marriage under Section 8 of the Hindu Marriage Act facilitates proof of the marriage, it does not confer legitimacy if the marriage was not solemnized according to Section 7 of the HMA, which specifies the requirements for a valid Hindu marriage ceremony.

If there has been no marriage in accordance with Section 7 of the HMA, the registration would not confer legitimacy to the marriage.

In Seema v Ashwani Kumar [AIR 2006 SC 1158], the SC directed that all marriages of all persons who are citizens of India belonging to various religions should be made compulsorily registrable in their respective States, where the marriage is solemnized, for the purpose of facilitating the proof of marriages.

Registration is only to facilitate proof of marriage

The SC says that the registration of Hindu marriages under the said provision is only to facilitate the proof of a Hindu marriage. But for a valid marriage, there has to be a Hindu marriage in accordance with Section 7 of the HMA and there must be a marriage ceremony which has taken place between the parties in accordance with the law.

Registration cannot be done without a valid marriage

In the absence of there being a valid Hindu marriage, the Marriage Registration Officer cannot register such a marriage under the provisions of Section 8 of the HMA.

The registration of a marriage under Section 8 of the HMA is only to confirm that the parties have undergone a valid marriage ceremony in accordance with Section 7 of the HMA. In other words, a certificate of marriage is only a proof of validity of Hindu marriage when such a marriage has taken place and not in a case where there is no marriage ceremony performed at all.

Hindu marriage is not an event for just dining & wining

The SC says a Hindu marriage is a sacrament which has to be accorded its status as an institution of great value in Indian society but not an event for ‘song and dance’ and ‘wining and dining’ or an occasion to demand and exchange dowry and gifts by undue pressure leading to possible initiation of criminal proceedings thereafter. Therefore strict enforcement of the customary rites and ceremonies under Section 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 ought to be ensured by all associating with the marriage.


  1. Dolly Rani v. Manish Kumar Chanchal [2024 INSC 355]
  2. Seema vs Ashwani Kumar [AIR 2006 SC 1158]