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Saṃskāra

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Hindu Law–Marriage between Hindu and former Christian–Proof of conversion to Hinduism–No formal purification ceremony necessary–Bona fide intention accompanied by unequivocal conduct sufficient. Madras Hindu (Bigamy Prevention and Divorce) Act 6 of 1949- Act applicable only to those domiciled in Madras. Indian Evidence Act 1 of 1872, s. 112–Presumption as to legitimacy of child. =One Perumal Nadar, a Hindu, married Annapazham, daughter of an Indian Christian, on November 29, 1950 at Kannimadam in the State of Travancore-Cochin according to Hindu rites. Of the two children born of the marriage one died. The younger child, a son born in 1958, acting through his mother, the afoResaid Annapazham, as his guardian, filed an action in the Court of the Subordinate Judge, Tirunelveli, for separate possession of a half share in the properties of the joint family held by his father Perumal. The ‘suit was defended by Perumal. The trial court decreed the suit and the High Court confirmed the decree. In appeal to this Court by certificate Perumal, the appellant, contended : (i) that Annapazham was an Indian Christian and a marriage between a Hindu and an Indian Christian must be regarded as void; (ii) that the marriage was invalid because the appellant was already married .before he married Annapazham and bigamous marriages were prohibited by Madras Act 6 of 1949; (iii) that the appellant and Annapazham were living apart for a long time before the birth of the plaintiff and on that account the plaintiff could not be regarded as a legitimate child of the appellant. HELD : (i) The question whether marriage between a Hindu male and a Christian female is valid or not did not arise for consideration in the present case because the finding of the Courts below that Annapazham was converted to Hinduism before her marriage with Perumal was amply supported by evidence. [52 D-E] A person may be a Hindu by birth or conversion. A mere theoretical allegiance to the Hindu faith by a person born in another faith does not convert him into a Hindu, nor is a bare declaration that he is a Hindu sufficient to convert him to Hinduism. But a bona,fide intention to be converted to the Hindu faith, accompanied by conduct unequivocally expressing that intention may be sufficient evidence of conversion. No formal ceremony of purification or expiration is necessary to effectuate conversion. [52 E-F] Muthusami Mudaliar v. Musilamani alias Subramania Mudaliar I.L.R. 33 Mad. 342 and Goona Durgaprasada Rao v. Goona Sudarasanaswami, I.L.R. (1940) Mad. 653, referred to. The evidence in the present case established that the parents of Annapazham arranged the marriage. The marriage was performed 50 according to Hindu rites and ceremonies in the presence of relatives who were invited to attend : customary ceremonies peculiar to a marriage between Hindus were performed : no objection was raised to the marriage and after the marriage Annapazham was accepted by the local Hindu Nadar community as belonging to the Hindu faith; and the plaintiff was also treated as a Hindu. On the evidence there could be no doubt that Annapazham bona fide intended to contract marriage with Perumal. Absence of specific expiatory or purificatory ceremonies would not be sufficient to hold that she was not converted to Hinduism before the marriage ceremony was performed. The fact that the appellant chose to go through the marriage ceremony according to Hindu rites with Annapazham in the presence of a large number of persons clearly indicated that he accepted that Annapazham was converted to Hinduism before the marriage ceremony was performed. [53 C-E] (ii) On the facts and pleadings the High Court was right in holding that it was not proved that the appellant was domiciled in the State of Madras at the date of his marriage with Annapazham. He could not therefore rely upon the provisions of the Madras Hindu (Bigamy Prevention and Divorce) Act 6 of 1949. [54 F] (iii) There was a concurrent finding by the courts below that there was no evidence to establish that the appellant living in the same village as Annapazham had no access to her during the time when the plaintiff could have been begotten. Therefore, in view of s. 112 of the Indian Evidence Act it could not be held that the plaintiff was an illegitimate child. [55 A-B] Chilukuri Venkateswarlu v. Chilukuri Venkatanarayana, [1954] S.C.R. 425, Karapaya v. Mayandi, I.L.R. 12 Rang. 243 (P.C) and Ammathayee v. Kumaresain, [1967] 1 S.C.R. 363, applied. =1971 AIR 2352, 1971( 1 )SCR 49, , ,

PETITIONER: PERUMAL NADAR (DEAD) BY L.R.S. Vs. RESPONDENT: PONNUSWAMI DATE OF JUDGMENT: 17/03/1970 BENCH: SHAH, J.C. BENCH: SHAH, J.C. HEGDE, K.S. GROVER, A.N. CITATION: 1971 AIR 2352 1971 SCR (1) 49 ACT: Hindu Law–Marriage between Hindu and former Christian–Proof of conversion to Hinduism–No formal purification ceremony necessary–Bona fide intention accompanied by unequivocal conduct sufficient. Madras … Continue reading

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