Introduction – Hindu Marriage act, 1955

By | June 15, 2017

Introduction

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 has reformed Hindu law of Marriage. It is a landmark in the history of social legislation. It has not simply codified the Hindu law of marriage but has introduced certain important changes in many respects. The Hindu marriage contemplated by the Act hardly remains sacramental. The Act has brought in some changes of far reaching consequences which have undermined the sacramental nature of marriage and rendered it contractual in nature to a great extent.

The Hindu Marriage Act is an Act of the Parliament of India in 1955 as part of the Hindu Code Bills. Three other important acts were also enacted during this time: the Hindu Succession Act (1956), the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act (1956),the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (1956).

Hindu Marriage

Marriage is a sacred institution; it is the very foundation of a stable family and civilised society and it accords status and security to the parties and their offspring. All legal systems provide for certain conditions for a valid marriage.

Marriage is one of the universal social institution. It is established by the human society to control and regulate the life of man. It is a corner stone of a society. Marriage is one of the universal social institution. It is established by the human society to control and regulate the life of man. It is a corner stone of a society…. It is in the family that children learn to become citizens; it is in the family that children learn about relationships; it is in the family that children learn about what is expected of them in society, how to act and how to be. Central to the nuclear family is the traditional idea of marriage, consisting of one man and one woman in a monogamous and permanent relationship. We need to promote and protect marriage to secure a healthier society. Marriage has legitimate recognition to get united. Society accepts union of two souls because primary object of marriage is to beget and bear offspring, and to them until they are able to take care of themselves.

Hindu Marriage joins two individuals for life, so that they can pursue dharma (duty), artha (possessions), kama (physical desires), and moksa (ultimate spiritual release) together. It’s a union of two individuals from the opposite sex as husband / wife and is recognized by law. In Hinduism, marriage is followed by traditional rituals for consummation. In fact, marriage is not considered complete or valid until consummation. It also joins two families together. Favorable colours are normally red and gold for this occasion.

Many people believe that arranged marriage is the traditional form of marriage in India; however love marriage is a modern form, usually in urban areas. Love marriage differs from an “arranged marriage” in that the couple, rather than the parents, choose their own partner. Interestingly, there are various instances from ancient scriptures of Hinduism, of romantic love marriages that were accepted in ancient times, for example Dushyanta and Shakuntala in the story of the Mahabharata who undergo a love marriage. Somewhere in the course of time, arranged marriages became predominant and love marriages became unacceptable or in the least, frowned upon. Despite some love marriages, the vast majority of Hindus continue to have arranged marriages.

PURPOSE

As part of the Hindu Code Bill, the Hindu Marriage Act was enacted in 1955 by the Parliament of India. The main purpose of the enactment was to amend and codify the law relating to marriage among Hindus. Beside, amendment and codification of Shastrik Law, it has introduced separation and Divorce which was earlier non-existent in Shastric Law. This enactment brought uniformity of law for all sections of Hindus. Hindu Marriage Act is not applicable in the state of Goa.

The Goa Civil Code, also called the Goa Family Law, is the set of civil laws that governs the residents of the Indian state of Goa. In India, as a whole, there are religion-specific civil codes that separately govern adherents of different religions. Goa is an exception to that rule, in that a single secular code/law governs all Goans, irrespective of religion, ethnicity or linguistic affiliation.

Applicability
  1. This Act applies-
  2. to any person who is a Hindu by religion in any of its forms or developments, including a Virashaiva, a Lingayat or a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj;
  3. to any person who is a Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh by religion, and to any other person domiciled in the territories to which this Act extends who 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 of the matters 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, Jain or Sikhs by religion; b.any child, legitimate or illegitimate, one of whose parents is a Hindu, Buddhist Jain 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, Jain or Sikh religion.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Mayank Shekhar
Author: Mayank Shekhar

Mayank is a student at Faculty of Law, Delhi University. Under his leadership, Legal Bites has been researching and developing resources through blogging, educational articles, competitions, and seminars.

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