Hindu marriage ties non-Hindus in knots, couple gets HC wrap


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MUMBAI: Marry in a hurry and repent at leisure, observed the Bombay high court as it grappled with a tangle that a Christian man had landed in by marrying a Muslim woman under the Hindu Marriage Act.

Mark Rebello had married Sakina Khan (names changed) on May 31, 1995 according to Vedic rites, apparently after being misguided by the marriage ’shops’ outside the Bandra courts, and their marriage was registered under the Bombay Registration of Marriages Act. They had a daughter in 1998. Till 2005 everything was fine, but then differences cropped up and the couple separated in 2008.

The Bombay High Court ruled that the marriage between a Christian man and a Muslim woman under the Hindu Marriage Act was illegal since day one.

The family court dismissed Mark’s petition in 2008 for nullifying the marriage under Section 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act, saying it was not maintainable as they were both non-Hindus.

"How did you select to marry under the Hindu Marriage Act?" asked Justice PB Majmudar, who along with Justice Anoop Mohta heard Mark’s petition challenging the family court order. "From day one, your marriage is illegal. Marry in (a) hurry and repent at leisure," he said. "They are opening shops for marriage and divorce also. Law-abiding citizens should never take advice from touts."

’Marriage shops misguided couple’

When Bombay high court judges pointed out that couple Mark Rebello and Sakina Khan should have married under the Special Marriage Act instead of the Hindu Marriage Act, Mark’s advocate said they were misguided by the marriage ’shops’. "Marriages are solemnized here. They are giving divorces also on stamp paper. Their conduct must be deprecated by the court," he added.

Mark claimed in his petition that on June 16, 1995, he and Sakina, who got separated in 2008, had got married in church. But it did not seem to cut ice with the courts with the family court dismissing on November 10, 2011, his petition for declaration of the status of his marriage under section 34 of the Specific Relief Act.

The court reasoned that an earlier dispute between the same parties and under the same cause of action had attained finality and, hence, a fresh petition was not maintainable.

Sakina’s advocate opposed the stand, saying the family court was right in dismissing his petition.

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