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Is Kanyadan (कन्यादान) not obligatory religious ritual?
Ashutosh Yadav v. State of UP 2024:AHC-LKO:25688
In the case of Ashutosh Yadav v. State of UP, a single Judge Bench, presided over by Justice
Subhash Vidyarthi, Allahabad High Court, recently issued a judgement on a Criminal Revision
Petition. The judgement, dated 22nd March, 2024, 2024:AHC-LKO:25688, stated that
Kanyadan (कन्यादान) is not necessary for the legal validity of a Hindu marriage.
It is to be noted that India is a nation characterised by its diversity, since it is home to a Hindu
population that engages in many rites and festivities. Hindus are geographically dispersed
across several regions of the country, exhibiting distinct cultural practices, religious
convictions, religious ceremonies, and belief systems. Their daily and social lives is profoundly
influenced by religion. The Hindu religious texts outline 16 sankaras (संस्कार) in which
marriage (Vivah = वििाह) is also considered a sanskar (संस्कार). This marriage is to be
conducted in accordance with religious ceremonies as prescribed by the scriptures.
After independence, Hindu law was codified, and four different laws were enacted to govern
and regulate Hindus’s personal lives: marriage, divorce, inheritance, succession, adoption and
maintenance, and minority and guardianship. Though it is an altogether different point of
debate as to how only Hindu laws were reformed and codified in the name of social reforms,
secularism, constitutionalism, gender equality, democratisation of personal laws, and why the
Uniform Civil Code was not brought, however, these laws brought radical changes in Hindu
law, and with much resistance, Hindus accepted those changes.
Here it is to be noted that Hindu marriage is governed by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Far-
reaching changes were introduced, to mention a few, i.e., how the sapinda (सव ंडा) relationship
is calculated was altered and is not in accordance with the Vedic scriptures. Similarly, sagotra
or saparva (सगोत्र और स िव) marriages were saved and not prohibited under codified law. The
Manusmriti (मनुस्मृवि), Vasishtha Dharma Sutras (िविष्ठ धमव सूत्र), Gobhila Grihya Sutras
(गोविला गृह्य सूत्र), and Vishnu Smriti (विष्णु स्मृवि) all explicitly recommend against marrying
within the same gotra, suggesting that such unions are not suitable for conjugal relationships.
It is a well-known fact that sagotra or saparva marriages are still not much prevalent and are
usually avoided.
Section 7 is comprised of two distinct sections. According to Sub-section (2), in Hindu
marriages where Saptapadi is a crucial religious procedure, the marriage shall be considered
valid and legally binding if both the bride and groom take the seventh step together before a
sacred fire. Sub-section (1) provides significant flexibility for the involved parties to conduct
the marriage in accordance with their own customary rites and ceremonies. While Kanyadan
(कन्यादान) is not explicitly mentioned as a mandatory religious ceremony for validating a
Hindu marriage, its religious importance cannot be disregarded based on the following
analysis.
Kanyadan (कन्यादान): The groom is commonly perceived as a manifestation of Lord Vishnu,
while the bride is seen as a manifestation of Goddess Lakshmi, representing the fusion of divine
and affluent elements. The ritual is purported to grant absolution to the parents of the bride
from their transgressions and facilitate their attainment of moksha, which refers to the state of
emancipation from the perpetual cycle of birth and reincarnation. The ceremony serves not
only as a religious practice but also as a manifestation of the strong connection and reciprocal
affection between a father and daughter. It signifies a significant shift in the bride's life,
transitioning from being a daughter to being a wife.
It is respectfully submitted that the High Court's observation may have significant implications
and should be interpreted and acknowledged within the context of the current case. Moreover,
it is important to consider the contextual factors surrounding the delivery of the judgement. An
application was filed under Section 311 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to request
permission for a witness to be re-examined due to a statement inconsistency. At this point, the
validity of the marriage was called into question, specifically regarding the failure to perform
the Kanyadan (कन्यादान) ritual.
It is respectfully argued that the Justice should have demonstrated judicial restraint in making
this observation, especially in the absence of any explicit questioning of the validity of the rite.
It is additionally argued that matters of great social, legal, and cultural importance are resolved
through the application of several principles of constitutional interpretation and adjudication.
During the deliberation of the application under Section 311 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,
the High Court justice made a brief comment in the present instance. The legal relevance of
this matter is limited and should not be exaggerated.

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Ashutosh Yadav v. State of UP 22nd March, 2024 All HC.pdf

  • 1. Is Kanyadan (कन्यादान) not obligatory religious ritual? Ashutosh Yadav v. State of UP 2024:AHC-LKO:25688 In the case of Ashutosh Yadav v. State of UP, a single Judge Bench, presided over by Justice Subhash Vidyarthi, Allahabad High Court, recently issued a judgement on a Criminal Revision Petition. The judgement, dated 22nd March, 2024, 2024:AHC-LKO:25688, stated that Kanyadan (कन्यादान) is not necessary for the legal validity of a Hindu marriage. It is to be noted that India is a nation characterised by its diversity, since it is home to a Hindu population that engages in many rites and festivities. Hindus are geographically dispersed across several regions of the country, exhibiting distinct cultural practices, religious convictions, religious ceremonies, and belief systems. Their daily and social lives is profoundly influenced by religion. The Hindu religious texts outline 16 sankaras (संस्कार) in which marriage (Vivah = वििाह) is also considered a sanskar (संस्कार). This marriage is to be conducted in accordance with religious ceremonies as prescribed by the scriptures. After independence, Hindu law was codified, and four different laws were enacted to govern and regulate Hindus’s personal lives: marriage, divorce, inheritance, succession, adoption and maintenance, and minority and guardianship. Though it is an altogether different point of debate as to how only Hindu laws were reformed and codified in the name of social reforms, secularism, constitutionalism, gender equality, democratisation of personal laws, and why the Uniform Civil Code was not brought, however, these laws brought radical changes in Hindu law, and with much resistance, Hindus accepted those changes. Here it is to be noted that Hindu marriage is governed by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Far- reaching changes were introduced, to mention a few, i.e., how the sapinda (सव ंडा) relationship is calculated was altered and is not in accordance with the Vedic scriptures. Similarly, sagotra or saparva (सगोत्र और स िव) marriages were saved and not prohibited under codified law. The Manusmriti (मनुस्मृवि), Vasishtha Dharma Sutras (िविष्ठ धमव सूत्र), Gobhila Grihya Sutras (गोविला गृह्य सूत्र), and Vishnu Smriti (विष्णु स्मृवि) all explicitly recommend against marrying within the same gotra, suggesting that such unions are not suitable for conjugal relationships. It is a well-known fact that sagotra or saparva marriages are still not much prevalent and are usually avoided.
  • 2. Section 7 is comprised of two distinct sections. According to Sub-section (2), in Hindu marriages where Saptapadi is a crucial religious procedure, the marriage shall be considered valid and legally binding if both the bride and groom take the seventh step together before a sacred fire. Sub-section (1) provides significant flexibility for the involved parties to conduct the marriage in accordance with their own customary rites and ceremonies. While Kanyadan (कन्यादान) is not explicitly mentioned as a mandatory religious ceremony for validating a Hindu marriage, its religious importance cannot be disregarded based on the following analysis. Kanyadan (कन्यादान): The groom is commonly perceived as a manifestation of Lord Vishnu, while the bride is seen as a manifestation of Goddess Lakshmi, representing the fusion of divine and affluent elements. The ritual is purported to grant absolution to the parents of the bride from their transgressions and facilitate their attainment of moksha, which refers to the state of emancipation from the perpetual cycle of birth and reincarnation. The ceremony serves not only as a religious practice but also as a manifestation of the strong connection and reciprocal affection between a father and daughter. It signifies a significant shift in the bride's life, transitioning from being a daughter to being a wife. It is respectfully submitted that the High Court's observation may have significant implications and should be interpreted and acknowledged within the context of the current case. Moreover, it is important to consider the contextual factors surrounding the delivery of the judgement. An application was filed under Section 311 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to request permission for a witness to be re-examined due to a statement inconsistency. At this point, the validity of the marriage was called into question, specifically regarding the failure to perform the Kanyadan (कन्यादान) ritual. It is respectfully argued that the Justice should have demonstrated judicial restraint in making this observation, especially in the absence of any explicit questioning of the validity of the rite. It is additionally argued that matters of great social, legal, and cultural importance are resolved through the application of several principles of constitutional interpretation and adjudication. During the deliberation of the application under Section 311 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the High Court justice made a brief comment in the present instance. The legal relevance of this matter is limited and should not be exaggerated.