The Hindu Marriage Act was established in 1955 as part of the Hindu Code Bills under the leadership of India’s former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Three other acts were also created during this time and they were Hindu Succession act (1956), Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act (1956) and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance act(1956).The main aim of the Hindu Marriage act was to modernize the current Hindu Legal tradition. This Hindu marriage act acted as a regulate personal life among Hindus, especially their institutions of marriage, its validity, conditions for in-validity, and applicability. This act of government of India extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and applies also to Hindus Domiciled in the territories to which this act extends who are outside the said territories.
Application of Hindu Marriage act
This act applies to any person who is a Hindu b religion in any forms of developments, including a virashaiva, a lingayat or a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj.
(b)To any other person domiciled in the territories to which this act extends which is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion, unless it is proved that any such person would not have been governed by the Hindu law or by any custom or usage as part of that law in respect of any matter dealt with herein if this act had not been passed.
Explanation.- The following persons are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs by religion, as the case may be,-
(a) any child, legitimate or illegitimate, both of whose parents are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs by religion;
(b) any child, legitimate or illegitimate, one of whose parents is a Hindu, Buddhist Jaina or Sikh by religion and who is brought up as a member of tribe, community, group or family to which such parents belongs or belonged; and
(c) any person who is a convert or re-convert to the Hindus, Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh religion.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the members of any Scheduled Tribe within the meaning of clause (25) of Article 366 of the Constitution unless the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, otherwise directs.
(3) The expression “Hindus” in any portion of this Act shall be construed as if it included a person who, though not a Hindu by religion is, nevertheless, a person whom this Act applies by virtue of the provisions contained in this section.
Conditions of Hindu marriage act
A marriage may be solemnized between any two Hindus, if the following conditions are fulfilled, namely:
(i) neither party has a spouse living at the time of the marriage;
(ii) at the time of the marriage, neither party,-
(a) is incapable of giving a valid consent of it in consequence of unsoundness of mind; or
(b) though capable of giving a valid consent has been suffering from mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and the procreation of children; or
(c) has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy;
(iii) the bridegroom has completed the age of twenty one years and the bride the age of eighteen years at the time of the marriage;
(iv) the parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two;
(v) the parties are not ‘sapindas’ of each other, unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two;
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.
The marriages solemnized, may be registered under the Special Marriage Act with office of the registrar, in the Hindu Marriage Register.
Registration is not compulsory and in no way effects the validity of the marriage. It is entirely upto the parties to have the marriage registered.
No marriage can be registered unless the following conditions are fulfilled :
● A ceremony of marriage has been performed between the parties and they have been living together as husband and wife.
● Neither party has at the time of registration more than one spouse living.
● Neither party is an idiot or lunatic at the time of registration.
● The parties have completed the age of twenty one years at the time of registration
● The parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship
● The parties have been residing within the district of the Marriage Officer for a period of not less than thirty days immediately preceding the date on which the application is made to him for registration.
● On receiving the application signed by both the parties the Marriage Officer shall give public notice and after allowing 30 days for objections and on being satisfied that all the conditions are fulfilled he shall enter a certificate in the marriage certificate book, which shall be signed by the parties and three witnesses.
Vishnu Devaraj. J
3rd Semester Student
National University of Advanced Legal Studies
Kaloor, Kochi – 682 017