According to Hindu Law, Marriage is a sacrament or a religious ceremony that creates a relation between two families. It is a sacred tie between husband and wife which can not be broken. It is believed that Marriage is the purest form of bond which is for seven lives that is birth to birth. According to Vedas, a man is considered incomplete until he gets married. It is the last tenth sacrament.
Who are Hindus?
A person who :
- Is a Hindu by religion in any of its forms.
- Is born from Hindu parents.
- Is a Buddhist, Jain, Sikh by religion.
- Is not Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jews and are not governed under Hindu Law.
- Hindus by Conversion or Reconversion.
Conditions for a Hindu Marriage :
Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act,1955 lays down the following conditions for a valid Hindu Marriage :
i) neither party has the spouse living at the time of the marriage;
ii) at the time of the marriage, neither party-
- is incapable of giving a valid consent to it in consequence of unsoundness of mind; or
- though capable of giving 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
- has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity
iii) the bridegroom has completed the age of twenty-one years and the bride the age of eighteen years at the time of 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 marriage between the two.
Ceremonies for a Hindu Marriage :
- Marriage must be performed by the customary rites and ceremonies of either party thereto and where such ceremonies include 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.
Registration of Marriage : As per section 8 of the act, provisions have been made to register the marriage under the act.
Types of Marriage :
i) Valid Marriage: if the marriage has been performed in followance of the essentials or conditions provided then it will be a perfectly valid marriage and is binding on the parties to it.
ii) Void Marriage: marriage shall be null and void and have no legal effect in the following cases if-
- either party has a spouse living at the time of the Marriage; or
- the marriage has been performed within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits a marriage; or
- the parties to a marriage are sapindas off each other unless the custom or usage permits it.
Marriage can be declared as void on the petition of either of the party to a marriage.
iii) Voidable Marriage: marriage is perfectly valid until or unless it is annulled by a decree of nullity and it can be avoided at the option of one of the parties to the marriage. Following are the grounds on which a marriage can be annulled-
a) marriage has not consummated owing to the impotence of the respondent; or
b) marriage violates clause (ii) of section 5; or
c) where the consent of the petitioner, or where the consent is given by the guardian, the consent is obtained by force or by fraud as to the nature of ceremony or as to any material fact or circumstances concerning the respondent. But this will not be a ground for annulment if-
- the petition has been presented after one month of the cessation of force or fraud discovered; or
- the petitioner has lived with the other party to a marriage with his or her full consent after the force has ceased or fraud has discovered.
d) the respondent was pregnant by another person at the time of marriage. But this ground shall not be entertained unless the court is satisfied that-
- the petitioner was ignorant of this fact at the time of marriage;
- proceedings have been instituted in the case of a marriage solemnized before the commencement of this act within one year of such commitment and in the case of marriages solemnised after commencement within one year from the date of such marriage; and
- the marital intercourse with the consent of the petitioner has not taken place since the discovery by the petitioner of the existence of the said ground.
Punishments for contravention of conditions for Hindu marriage :
- any marriage between two Hindus solemnized after the commencement of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 is void if at the date of such marriage either party had a husband or wife living, and the provisions of section 494 and 495 of the IPC shall apply accordingly. This is a punishment for bigamy.
- if there is a contravention of the condition of the age of marriage then will be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years or with a fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both
- in the case of a contravention of the condition of sapinda relationship or prohibited degree then the punishment will be simple imprisonment which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both.
After the commencement of the Hindu Marriage Act,1955 every marriage between the two adult Hindus should be performed in accordance with the rules and regulations made under the act for this purpose.