Home » News » Delhi High Court Upholds Section 5(v) of the Hindu Marriage Act

In a recent development, the Delhi High Court has reaffirmed the validity of Section 5(v) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA), in the case of Neetu Grover v. Union of India & Ors.

The case revolved around the marriage of the petitioner, Neetu Grover, and her distant cousin, Gagan Grover. The marriage was conducted with the mutual consent of both families and was solemnized through a religious ceremony attended by members of civil society. However, Gagan Grover managed to have the marriage declared null and void by invoking Section 5(v) of the HMA in a competent court. He argued that Neetu Grover had fallen victim to a fraud committed by him and his family members, who had misled her into believing in the legitimacy of their marriage.

Following the court’s judgment, Neetu Grover appealed to the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court, but her appeal was dismissed. Subsequently, she filed a writ petition challenging Section 5(v) of the HMA, which was ultimately disposed of by the High Court.

The court, presided over by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, upheld the validity of Section 5(v) of the HMA. This section stipulates that no marriage can be solemnized between parties who are sapindas of each other unless it is sanctioned by the custom or usage governing them. The court found no merit in the challenge to Section 5(v) of the HMA in the present writ petition.

Section 5 of the HMA outlines the conditions necessary for a Hindu marriage. It states that a marriage may be solemnized between any two Hindus if certain conditions are met. These include the absence of a living spouse at the time of marriage, the capacity to give valid consent, the absence of mental disorders or recurrent attacks of insanity, and the attainment of the minimum age of twenty-one years for the bridegroom and eighteen years for the bride. Furthermore, the parties should not be within the degrees of prohibited relationship or be sapindas of each other, unless their custom or usage permits such a marriage.

This ruling by the Delhi High Court serves as a reminder of the legal provisions governing Hindu marriages and the importance of adhering to them. It also highlights the role of the judiciary in upholding the law and ensuring justice for all parties involved.

The term “Sapinda” is derived from the word “Pinda”, which refers to a ball of rice offered at a sraddha ceremony to deceased ancestors. In Hindu law, when two individuals offer Pinda to the same ancestor, they are said to be in a Sapinda relationship, signifying a connection through the same bloodline.
Section 3(f) of the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) defines the Sapinda Relationship legally. According to this section:
(i) A Sapinda Relationship regarding any person extends as far as the third generation (inclusive) in the line of ascent through the mother, and the fifth (inclusive) in the line of ascent through the father. The line is traced upwards in each case from the person concerned, who is counted as the first generation.
(ii) Two persons are said to be sapindas of each other if one is a lineal ascendant of the other within the limits of sapinda relationship, or if they have a common lineal ascendant who is within the limits of sapinda relationship regarding each of them.

Furthermore, Sections 5(v) and 11 of the HMA stipulate that marriage within the sapinda relation is considered void. This means that if any person marries within the sapinda relation, such a marriage is not legally recognized.

This understanding of the Sapinda Relationship is crucial in the context of Hindu marriages, as it outlines the boundaries of marital relationships according to familial ties and ancestry. It also underscores the importance of adhering to these provisions to ensure the legality and validity of a marriage.

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