SAPNIDA MARRIAGE (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Indian Society)

News-CRUX-10     29th January 2024        

Context: Recently, the Delhi High Court dismissed a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5(v) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA), which bars marriage between two Hindus if they are "sapindas" of each other, unless their respective customs or usages permit such a union.

Sapinda Marriage

  • About: It is a marriage between individuals who are related to each other within a certain degree of closeness. Sapinda relationships for the HMA are defined in Section 3 of the Act.
  • HMA Prohibitions on Marriages

oMother's side: Marriage is prohibited within three generations (siblings, parents, and grandparents).

oFather's side: Prohibition extends to five generations, including grandparents' grandparents.

oExceptions to Prohibition: The sole exception is when individual customs permit sapinda marriages.

  • Conditions for Custom Legitimacy: Custom must be continuously and uniformly observed for a long time.
  • Legal Challenge and Background: In 2007, a sapinda marriage was declared void due to a lack of community custom proof.

oDelhi HC dismissed the appeal in October 2023, challenging the constitutional validity of the prohibition.

oThe petitioner argued the right to equality under Article 14.

  • HC Ruling on Custom Proof: Delhi HC held that stringent proof of an established custom was lacking.

oNo cogent legal grounds were presented to show the prohibition violated the right to equality.