My earlier Post with similar title may be read here. The two are not really related to each other though the underlying moral is roughly the same. That we should not rush to interpret Law, especially to suit our narrow partisan views.
The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 covers the law on marriages between two practicing Hindus.It is not as a fresh Law. As the preamble states, it is an Act to *Amend and Codify the law relating to marriage among Hindus*. Thus it is clear that Customs existing prior to the Act are equally valid unless specifically overruled by this Act.
- The Act clearly states that marriages between under aged bride and / or groom is voidable (not void as claimed by many). The Act also goes on to specify that unless repudiated it becomes valid and does not become void automatically. So legally what ever any one might say, Jashodaben is married to Modi as they have not repudiated the marriage when they crossed the legal age for marriage. By naming her in the affidavit I think Modi is also of this view.
- To claim the marriage was not consummated and hence not valid is not legally right. The Act says *not consummated because the other party is impotent*. That is not the claim of Jashodaben or Modi. Obviously, You and I cannot claim that. So it would not only be decent but also legally correct to drop this line of argument.
- The Act clearly says, the completion of Sapthapathi would be the clear indication of marriage.
7. Ceremonies for a Hindu marriage.-(1) A Hindu marriage may be solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party thereto.
(2) Where such rites and ceremonies include the saptapadi (that is, the taking of seven steps by the bridegroom and the bride jointly before the sacred fire), the marriage becomes complete and binding when the seventh step is taken.
As a believing Hindu both Modi and Jashodaben would agree that having completed Saptapadi they are husband & wife, not only legally but also in the eyes of society until something specifically done to repudiate that.
The conclusion can only be that Modi is married and his affidavit is correct. It would be decent to leave it there and not fish to gain political brownies.