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Hindu Marriage Act, 1955


Unlike West, marriage in India is regarded more as a religious and social affair than a legal affair. Despite a very detailed chapter on the Indian marriages in the Indian constitution, most of the people in the country are unaware of the laws associated with marriages. In a cosmopolitan culture like India where umpteen numbers of cultures and religion prevail under the same canopy, it is very difficult to regulate all the customs by same kind of regulation especially of the matter is related with sensitive issues like marriage and hierarchy. Therefore, different kinds of Marriage Acts have been defined for different religions in the country. The Hindu marriage is governed by, ‘The Hindu Marriage Act', which came into existence on 18 May 1955.

Basic Provisions of Hindu Marriage Act

  • The provision under the Act is that it applies to any person who is Hindu by religion and it is also applicable to Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhsas well as and the person who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew, and who is not governed by any other law.
  • It extends to the entire India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and it is applicable to Hindus domiciled in the territories to which this Act extends who are outside the said territories.
  • Under this law the bridegroom should be of 21 years of age and the bride should be of 18 years of age. They both should be Hindu by origin and should not be within the degree of prohibited relationship. Neither party should have a spouse living nor any party should be subject to recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy, either of them should not be suffering from mental disorders or should not be unfit for marriage and procreation of children and both should be of sound mind and capable of giving valuable consent.
  • Bigamy or Polygamy is now prohibited and as per law it is treated as an offence under the Indian Penal code.
  • Just like marriages the law also governs divorces. Under the law divorce can be obtained on the grounds of adultery, cruelty, desertion for two years, conversion in religion, unsound mind, etc.
  • The Hindu Marriage law has also described certain prohibited relationships whose marriage is not legalized. Like father and daughter, son and mother, brother and sister and many more.
  • The Hindu Marriage act also does not set any prescribe or particular ceremonial for marriage. It states that a Hindu marriage may be formalized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party. Where rituals include the saptapadi (seven steps by the bridegroom and the bride jointly before the sacred fire), the marriage is said to be solemnized once the seventh step is taken.
  • It has now become mandatory to register a Hindu Marriage.
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