Consent to marriage is inherent in Hindu Marriage Act: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on April 11, 2018 ruled that the consent to marriage is inherent under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The court also ruled that it will not consider arguments on how marriage ceremonies should be performed. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud ruled this while hearing a petition filed by a Karnataka woman who claimed that the consent of the bride or the groom has not been made mandatory in the law.

While refusing to entertain the question of consent under Hindu Marriage Act, the apex court directed the Central Government to give protection to the Karnataka woman who alleged that she has been married off without her consent. She had subsequently escaped to Delhi and approached the Court seeking protection.

The court ruled that the provision regarding forceful marriage is already inherent in the marriage law and it will not interfere with Hindu marriage laws by issuing a declaration separately. These provisions say that ‘A marriage that takes place without the consent of the bride is subject to nullification of the marriage… A marriage entered through fraud on the bride stands on the same footing as when there is no consent.’

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