Religion not ground for registering marriages: Kerala High Court

Kerala High Court | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday ruled that the religion of parties is not a relevant ground to be considered when marriages are registered, reminded the registrars in charge of marriages that India is a secular country and that Kerala has been home to many reformers, such as Ayyankali and Sree Narayana Guru.

In its directive, the court observed that "the respondents, while registering the marriage as per the Rules 2008, should remember that our country is a secular country giving liberty to all citizens to adopt their own religion and to follow their own rites, customs, and ceremonies. Kerala is a state, where the great reformers like Sree Narayana Guru and Ayyankali lived and they propagated the principle of secularism."

The court pointed out that some caste groups have been attempting to hijack the names of such reformers, and "this should not be permitted as they are leaders of for all citizens, irrespective or religion and caste".

"It is unfortunate that nowadays there is an attempt to hijack the names of these legends by certain caste groups as if they are their caste leaders. That should not be permitted. They are the reformers of our country. They are the leaders of all citizens of this country irrespective of the religion and caste. Social reformers of different religions should not be caged in their religion or caste at the instance of certain groups. If it happens, we will be insulting those legends," the judgment read.

The court told the registrars for marriages not to raise hyper technical defects while entertaining applications for registration of marriages.

"The registration of marriage as per the Rules, 2008 will not prove a valid marriage, and it is only to protect the rights of the women and the children born in that marriage. Therefore, hyper technical defects shall not be raised by the Marriage Officers."

The court also directed the Secretary, Local Self Government Department, to issue a circular mentioning the dictum laid down in its judgment

The court passed the order on a plea moved by a Hindu man and a Muslim woman who got married as per Hindu rites and continued to follow the Hindu religion.

However, the local Registrar refused to register the marriage solemnized between the petitioners, as per the Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules, 2008, on the ground that the registration of marriage is possible only if it is solemnised as per the marriage laws in force. IANS

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