Follwing a PIL was filed by an advocate A Asuvathaman against self-respect marriages, or suyamariyathai marriage, the Madras High Court refused to declare these marriages illegal.
Suyamariyathai marriage is a wedding which does not consist of Brahmin priests, holy fire, saptapadi (seven steps) and mangalsutra.
Tamil Nadu is the only state to legalise suyamariyathai marriages. In 1967, Former Chief Minister Annadurai legalised self-respect marriages in Tamil Nadu and it became an Act in 1968.
Asuvathaman said, “‘Saptapadi’ (seven steps going around the fire by the couple as part of marriage ritual) was an important ritual. The amendment had attempted to bring in the philosophy of a political movement.”
He also said that the amendment which supports such marriages should be declared unconstitutional as these marriages are carried out according to the customary rites.
Slamming the PIL, Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice TS Sivagnanam said, "The Hindu religion by itself is pluralist in character and thus various forms of marriage have traditionally existed depending on the area and the custom prevalent therein. Section 7-A (inserted by Tamil Nadu government in 1968) provides for a particular kind of marriage - suyamariyathai marriages - among two Hindus. It has also stood the test of time, now for half a century," according to TOI report.
The court stated that the presence of a priest is not necessary for a valid marriage.
They also said that the PIL had not presented any material which will prove that the amendment is invalid.