Now a days court marriages are also popular. Many learned people like to marry in court without much expense etc. What is the status of this marriage? Prohibited? Kalyug practice? Saptapadi is also a legal requirement for a valid Hindu marriage so is legal court marriage a good substitute? Do these couples get paapam due to abondoning tradition? Is court marriage followed by temple visit enough?
Generally, there are eight kind of marriages described in many Scriptures. For example Manu Smriti, Chapter 3 gives their name as follows:
Now listen to (the) brief (description of) the following eight marriage-rites used by the four castes (varna) which partly secure benefits and partly produce evil both in this life and after death.
(They are) the rite of Brahman (Brahma), that of the gods (Daiva), that of the Rishis (Arsha), that of Pragapati (Pragapatya), that of the Asuras (Asura), that of the Gandharvas (Gandharva), that of the Rhashasas (Rakshasa), and that of the Pisakas (Paisaka).
The one you are talking about can be related to Gandharva Rite, if it fulfil this rite's considerations as described below:
- The voluntary union of a maiden and her lover one must know (to be) the Gandharva rite, which springs from desire and has sexual intercourse for its purpose.
Or as mentioned in Mahabharata, Anushasana Parva, SECTION XLIV
When the father of the girl', disregarding his own wishes, bestows his daughter upon a person whom the daughter likes and who reciprocates the girl's sentiments, the form of marriage, O Yudhishthira, is called Gandharva by those that are conversant with the Vedas.
But again, Manu Smriti, Chapter 3 restricts different kind of rites to differen Varna as given below:
Which is lawful for each caste (varna) and which are the virtues or faults of each (rite), all this I will declare to you, as well as their good and evil results with respect to the offspring.
One may know that the first six according to the order (followed above) are lawful for a Brahmana, the four last for a Kshatriya, and the same four, excepting the Rakshasa rite, for a Vaisya and a Sudra.
The sages state that the first four are approved (in the case) of a Brahmana, one, the Rakshasa (rite in the case) of a Kshatriya, and the Asura (marriage in that) of a Vaisya and of a Sudra.
But in these (Institutes of the sacred law) three of the five (last) are declared to be lawful and two unlawful; the Paisaka and the Asura (rites) must never be used.
For Kshatriyas those before-mentioned two rites, the Gandharva and the Rakshasa, whether separate or mixed, are permitted by the sacred tradition.