Void marriages and lost sleep

I came across some interesting judgments in the Supreme Court this week:

It took fifty three years for this to surface and that too from the portals of the apex court – marriage between a Hindu and Christian is void under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955.

The Act applies to anyone who is a Hindu by religion including any person who is a Buddhist, Jain or Sikh by religion.

Who is a Hindu (or Sikh, Jain or Buddhist)?

According to the Act the following persons are Hindus, Buddhists, Jain or Sikhs by religion-

  1. Any child, legitimate or illegitimate, both of whose parents are Hindus, Buddhists, Jain or Sikhs by religion
  2. Any child, legitimate or illegitimate, one of whose parents is a Hindu, Buddhist Jain or Sikh by religion and who is brought up as a member of tribe, community, group or family to which such parents belongs or belonged
  3. Any person who is a convert or re-convert to the Hindus, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh religion.

It is all right for someone born to Hindu and Christian (or Muslim) parents to be called as Hindu but the same does not apply for marriages.  It is an unusual situation.  There is no law against inter-religious marriage but there is a plurality in law with marriage Acts like Hindu Marriage Act, Muslim Marriage Act, and Christian Marriage Act based on religion.  Sowriaraj and Pavani’s wedding  solemnized under Christian rites would be legal under the Indian Christian Marriage Act 1889, since it clearly states that every marriage between persons one or both of whom are or are a Christian or Christians shall be solemnized under this Act as otherwise, it shall be void.  It is strange that the Hindu Marriage Act came into existence 65 years after the Christian Marriage Act and yet did not include the clause “one or both of whom”.

Religion notwithstanding, I wonder if the courts would grant divorce to a couple where one spouse complains of the other’s snoring. Especially when the snore disturbs one’s sleep! For the Supreme Court has held that “sleep” is a basic necessity and biological need of life! Kudos to the Maharashtra government and court for upholding the citizen’s right being ‘necessity of silence’, ‘necessity of sleep’, ‘process during sleep’ and ‘rest’! It should apply to residential areas,  streets and roads and religious institutions. It should censure all forms of explosive Diwali firecrackers. Finally, the ruling might have the power to close an airport if the residents of Dwarka Sector 12 in Delhi were to approach the apex court!

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