A weird and rather disturbing case came to Punjab & Haryana High Court where a Hindu boy Akhil, 21 year old kidnapped his cousin of 17 years old. Hearing the anticipatory bail application of Akhil the High Court has set records straight i.e. there could not be any marriage within Sapinda. Akhil who has been charged under IPC Sections 363 for kidnapping and 366A for procuration of minor girl according to his lawyer did not kidnap the girl instead living in ‘live-in relationship’.

The Kidnaper Had Sought Protection from the Court

Although the petitioner Akhil had sought protection from the Hon’ble court citing the Megha & another Vs State of Haryana & others’ where the couple were given court protection as they feared for their lives from the relatives, the Bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan observed:

“Without entering upon an exercise to evaluate the evidentiary value of the documents on the file, the petition is disposed of with direction to respondent No. 2 to decide the representation of the petitioners, and grant them protection. It is made clear that this order shall not be taken to protect the petitioners from legal action for violation of law, if any, committed by them.”

In the order the Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan also makes it clear that since the girl is 17 years of age and hence, a minor, and the petition Akhil also concealed the fact that she is his first cousin as their fathers are real brothers, they fall in the prohibited Sapinda under the Hindu Marriage Act and cannot perform marriage with each other.

Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan further concluded that ‘once the petition and the minor are prohibited from performing marriage with each other, there is no question of their being in any live-in-relationship as it is immoral per se. Therefore, even if the petitioner says that he would marry the minor once she becomes major, it is ILLEGAL.

What is Sapinda and why it Matters for Hindus?

Section 5 (v) in The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 prohibits any marriage between the parties that sapindas of each other; however, there are some exceptions. For instance, if there is the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two like cousin marriages happens in some communities in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Nonetheless, in northern India, Sapinda marriages are prohibited according to Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, section 3 defines “Sapinda relationship” with reference to any person extends as far as the third generation (inclusive) in the line of assent through the mother, and the fifth (inclusive) in the line of assent through the father, the line being traced upward in each case from the person concerned, who is to be counted as the first generation;

Two persons are said to be “sapindas” of each other if one is a lineal ascendant of the other within the limits of sapinda relationship, or if they have a common lineal ascendant who is within the limits of sapinda relationship with reference to each of them;

The modern law is based on Manu Smiriti which explains Spinda in Adhyay 5 (Mantra 60) in following manner:

सपिण्डता तु पुरुषे सप्तमे विनिवर्तते। समानोदकभावस्तु जन्मनाम्नोरवेदने ।।

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