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Laws Governing Marriages in India

The governing of all marriages in India is done under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Every aspect of marriage is covered under this act.

As in India, every citizen is governed under personal laws of his/her religious views, hence the Hindu Marriage Act was enacted in 1955 to codify marriage law between Hindus as a part of the Hindu Code Bill

Applicability of the Hindu Marriage Act

The Hindu Marriage Act is applicable to the following people:

  • A Hindu as well as Virashaiva, a Lingayat or a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj.
  • A legitimate or illegitimate issue of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs.
  • A minor whose parents are Hindu, Buddist, Jaina or Sikh and is brought up a valid member of the community, tribe, family to which his/her parents belong
  • Any person other than a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew and is residing in a place where this act is applicable.
  • A person who is either a convert or a re-convert to Hindus, Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh religion.
  • An individual who is a Buddhist, Jain or Sikh.

Requirement for a Hindu Marriage

A marriage between two Hindus is said to be solemnized if the following conditions are fulfilled:
  1. Neither the bride nor the groom should have a living partner at the time of the wedding.
  2. Neither the bride nor the groom should be of unsound mind at the time of marriage.
  3. Neither the bride nor the groom should be suffering from any mental disease that makes either of them incapable of being married and procreating children.
  4. Neither the bride nor the groom should be sapindas or cousins unless their customs permits them to do so.
  5. The bridegroom should at least be 21 and the bride should atleast be of 18 years of age.
  6. Neither the bride nor the groom should be suffering from attacks of epilepsy or insanity

Overriding effect of this Act

According to the provisions of this Act, any text, rule or interpretation of Hindu Law or any custom or usage as part of the law that was in force to regulate any of the aspects dealth with in this act shall cease to be in force from the time of commencement of this act. In addition to this, any law that has been in enforcement prior to the commencement of ths act and whose provision run contrary to this act shall cease to be in force from the time of commencement of this act.

Ceremonies for a Hindu Marriage

The marriage should be solemnised according to the customary rituals of either of the couple. One of the ceremonies must include saptapandi or the act where the bridegroom take seven circle or ferahs around the sacred fire

Registration of Hindu Marriages
As evidence of the marriage ceremony, the state government has implemented the rule of recording the particulars regarding the rules and conditions of the marriage in the Hindu Marriage Register. This is compulsory as per sub-section (1) of the act. Violation of this rule can lead to a fine of Rs. 25.

The Hindu Marriage Register is open for inspection at reasonable times and serves as valid evidence. However, the validity of a marriage can not be nullified on the omission to make an entry in the register.

Restitution of Conjugal Rights
If either of the parties has withdrawn from the society without a valid reason, the other person can apply to the District Magistrate for the restitution of conjugal rights. On verification of the court, the restitution rights may be restored.

Judicial Separation

As per sub-section (1) of Section 13 of this Act, a marriage solemnized either before or after the commencement of this act have to furnish a petition for separation. There is no need for the couple to inhibit if the judicial petition id passed.

Voidable Marriages

Marriages that were solemnized before or after the commencement will be voidable and invalid in the following cases:
  1. When the marriage can not be consummated due yo impotence of either of the partners.
  2. When the marriage violates a condition laid down under clause (iii) of Section 5
  3. If the respondent is not pregnant with the child of the petitioner.
  4. In case of a child marriage, if the consent of the guardian of the petitioner was obtained by fraud or misrepresentation of the relevant facts.

The legitimacy of Children of void marriages

  1. According to Section 11 of this Act, a child is legitimate if the marriage has been valid, irrespective of the current validity of the marriage
  2. Any child conceived prior to a decree that nullifies the marriage will be considered legitimate

Punishment of Bigamy

As per sec 494 and 495 of the Indian Penal Code, the marriage is declared void if either of the spouses have a living couple during the time of the marriage,

Punishment for Contravention of Certain other Conditions

Contravention of conditions of the act will be meeted with the following punishment:
  1. If there is contravention of the provision in clause (ii) of section 5, then the person is liable to be imprisoned for 15 days and shall be charged a fine upto Rs 1000.
  2. Contravention specified in clause (iv) or clause (v) of Section 5 will make the person liable for pone month's imprisonment and a fine upto Rs. 1000 or both.

The Hindu Marriage Act is a comprehensive act that has been governing the regulation of hindu marriages in India since after independence. The provisions of this act cover all essential aspects of a marriage and hence proves to be of utmost importance to the citizen.

Tapan Choudhurys' Law Firm is a firm that has some of the Best FAMILY Lawyers, who can help and give good legal pieces of advice to the Couple in Distress.

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