The bench on November 10 annulled a “forced” marriage, observing that the appellant, Ravi Kant, then a signalman in the Army, was abducted in Lakhisarai district of Bihar more than 10 years ago, and forced to apply vermilion on the respondent bride’s forehead at gunpoint.
“From bare perusal of the provisions of Hindu Marriage Act, it is obvious that the marriage becomes complete and binding when the seventh step is taken (around the sacred fire by the bride and groom). Conversely, if ‘saptapadi’ has not been completed, the marriage would not be considered to be complete,” the HC stated.
The appellant was abducted along with his uncle on June 30, 2013, when they had gone to offer prayers at a temple in Lakhisarai. Later that day, Ravi Kant was forced to “marry” the respondent.
Ravi’s uncle tried to lodge a complaint with the district police, who allegedly did not entertain him. Subsequently, Ravi filed a criminal complaint before the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Lakhisarai.
He also moved the family court for annulment of marriage, which dismissed his plea on January 27, 2020.
Hearing his appeal, the HC bench said the family court’s findings were flawed and expressed surprise that the priest who gave evidence on behalf of the respondent had neither any knowledge about ‘saptapadi’, nor was he able to recall the place where the marriage rites were performed.
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