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Surajmani Stella Kujur v. Durga Charan Hansdah AIR 2001 | Case Analysis

Surajmani Stella Kujur v. Durga Charan Hansdah AIR2001 SC938

Introduction:

There are basically two types of law- General Laws and Personal Laws. General Laws are governed by the government and followed by everyone while on the other hand, Personal Laws are governed by a certain community or religion and followed only by them. This is a very interesting case revolving around 2001 and we will get to know who is a Hindu and who are not. This case also gives the interpretations of the law that if a petition is not filed correctly or under the jurisdiction of the court than what will be the consequences. We will know about the usage and importance of the customs under law. In this case analysis, we will get to know about the interference of the court in the customary laws and what are the legalities behind it. To be a Hindu, it is very important for one to follow the law given under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Section 2.


Citations: Surajmani Stella Kujur v. Durga Charan Hansdah AIR [2001] 3 SCC 13.


Parties Involved:

Petitioner: Dr. Surajmani Stella Kujur

Respondent: Durga Charan Hansdah


Jurisdiction:

Supreme Court of India.


Bench:

Justice K.T. Thomas, Justice R.T. Sethi


Facts:

Dr Surajmani Stella Kujur, petitioner, from Oraona tribe was married to the respondent Durga Charan Hansdah, a member of Santhal tribe. Respondent committed the offence of second marriage in the presence of first marriage i.e., Bigamy. The appellant has submitted before the hon’ble court that respondent shall be prosecuted under the section 494 of the Indian Penal Code. Appellant has also submitted that the marriage was done according to the Hindu rites and customs. First accused did not had the divorce with his wife instead, he solemnized the marriage with the second accused and it contravenes the provisions of Section 494 of the IPC.


Issue:

Who qualifies as a "Hindu" for the purposes of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955?


Judgment:

Decision was passed that section 2 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 says who are the people that will come under the word “Hindu.” The act is appropriate to all the Hindus (together with Virashaiva, Lingayat, Brahmo, Prarthana Samajists and the Arya Samajists), Jain, Buddhist and Sikh and any other person who is a citizen of India or domiciled in any other states under the territory of India and is not a Christian, Muslim, Parsi, or a Jew. The term custom and usage describe its pertinence to Hindu family, local tribes, community to be used continuously and uniformly, must not be opposed to public morality, must be certain and reasonable and the rule is not applicable to the family who has stopped that specific custom. The court said that in the absenteeism of the announcement by the under Article 342 of the Indian Constitution, they are considered to be Hindus by religion. Even if the announcement is passed that the act is still applicable on the Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Castes under sub section of the same act and same section. It is considered by the court that even if the two possess Hinduism, the Hindu Marriage Act is not applicable to them. The appellant had approached the court under the laws of their personal customs and it is nowhere mentioned in their laws that the second marriage is illegal. It is only mentioned in their laws that monogamy has to be practiced but only as a mere thought that single marriage can be practiced but is not sufficient and it must be codified that the second wedding is void in the subsistence of their primary wedding only then, the appellant will get what it has come fourth in the court. The case was dismissed by the court that the pleading was done only on the reference of a book which is not relevant and it must be certain laws relevant to the facts.


Personal Opinion:

It has been seen among many men & women that they cheat on their partners during their married life. Marriage is said to be a bond between the couple which is unbreakable and they are inseparable but different and diverse options during work or dating apps and even there has been nowadays made an app for the extra marital affair which has grown at an eye-opening level. Polygamy is a practice which needs to be stopped immediately otherwise the generation will be directed towards the wrong ways and there will be no more morality and order among the people. People today have gone so much wild that even after the marriage, they want to explore and that too with a consent. The opinion is not that people must go again uncivilized, rather, Indian culture is rich with Vedas, Puranas, Scriptures and they very reliable and modern in their own way if interpreted with a liberal mind. People should understand that modernity, hard work, liberal thought comes only with the manifestation of spirituality.


About the author, Jasbir Singh, a law student from Jagran University, Bhopal - India.