Question: Discuss the essential conditions of a valid marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Discuss the essential conditions of a valid marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.] Answer Marriage is a sacrament in Hindus. It falls under personal law. Hindu marriage is an old institution that has survived from… Read More »

Question: Discuss the essential conditions of a valid marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Discuss the essential conditions of a valid marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.] Answer Marriage is a sacrament in Hindus. It falls under personal law. Hindu marriage is an old institution that has survived from the Vedic era to the present day, with many changes. Accordingly, the marriage should be performed between Hindus; if done between Hindus...

Question: Discuss the essential conditions of a valid marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Discuss the essential conditions of a valid marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.]

Answer

Marriage is a sacrament in Hindus. It falls under personal law. Hindu marriage is an old institution that has survived from the Vedic era to the present day, with many changes. Accordingly, the marriage should be performed between Hindus; if done between Hindus and non-Hindu this Act will not be applicable to them. This statute applies to the person who was born in Hinduism or the person who is converted/reverted to Hindu from any other faith.

Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 states some of the requirements for a legal Hindu marriage. Following are the essential conditions for a valid Hindu marriage:-

  1. Monogamy;
  2. Mental health or soundness of mind;
  3. Age of consent by parties to the marriage;
  4. Avoidance of degree of prohibited relationship; and
  5. Avoidance of Sapinda relationship.

1. Monogamy

This concept provides that either the husband or wife doesn’t have a spouse who was alive at the moment of marriage. The law relating to Hindu marriages promotes monogamy and prohibits polygamy. A person’s first marriage must be legally legitimate. If a person’s first marriage is void or voidable at the option of another party then the person cannot be prosecuted for bigamy.

If the first marriage is legally recognized, and the second marriage is solemnized then the person will be prosecuted for bigamy. In the case of Yamunabai v. Anantrao (AIR 1988 SC 644) the honourable court held that if the first marriage is valid then the second wife has no legal status as a wife. The second marriage is null and void.

Violation of sec 5(i)

If the marriage is solemnized under Section 11 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 then it will be considered null and void. Under Section 17 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, the person will be held liable for Bigamy and will be prosecuted under Section 494 and 495 of the Indian Penal Code 1860.

2. Mental health or soundness of mind

This provision states that both persons should be of sound mind. Both the parties should be in a state to give a valid acceptance of the marriage. The parties are capable of giving legitimate consent but have been diagnosed with a mental illness that renders them unfit for marriage and childbearing or either of the parties is subject to the state of being seriously mentally ill.

Violation of sec 5(ii)

The violation of sec 5(ii) will arouse marriage to be voidable under sec 12 (1)(b) of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955. Under section 13 (1)(iii) the parties may apply for a divorce if the individual has been diagnosed with an incurable mental illness or has been suffering from a mental disease for a long time.

3. Age of parties

This concept states that the bridegroom has finished the age of 21 years and the bride has completed the age of 18 years at the time of marriage. Earlier under Hindu Marriage Act, the age for marriage for the bridegroom was 18 years and 15 years for the bride.

When the age of a Hindu girl at her time of marriage is less than 18 years, the marriage is valid but punishable. If the parties have not attained the given age in the act the marriage will be void.

In the case of Bhagwati alias Reena v. Anil Choubey, the husband filed a suit for declaring a marriage null and void. The husband at the time of marriage was major. The woman was a minor at the time of the marriage, and it was solemnized under duress and fear of death. The court ruled that only minors, not majors, can seek an annulment.

Violation of sec 5 (iii)

Under the prohibition of the child marriage act 2006, the marriage can be voidable at the option of either party, the one who was minor at the time of marriage can seek an annulment of the marriage.

Section 18 of the Hindu Marriage Act provides for rigorous imprisonment of up to 2 years, a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both. Under Section 13(2) (iv) the bride can repudiate her marriage before completing the age of 18 years.

The courts have an injunction to restrain child marriage. If an injunction is disregarded and marriage occurs, the court has the authority to penalize the violators with the imprisonment of 3 months, or fine Up to Rs 1,000, or both. Still, Marriage will be valid.

4. Avoidance of degree of prohibited relationship

This notion stipulates that none of the parties to the marriage are in the banned relationship degree until the usage or custom is permitting them to do so. Under Hindu Marriage Act 1955 section 3(g), defines the degree of a forbidden relationship.

(i) If one of them is a lineal descendant of the other;

(ii) One can’t marry the wife or husband of their own lineal ascendants or descendant;

(iii) If one was to marry the wife of:

  1. a) brother,
  2. b) Father’s or Mother’s brother,
  3. c) Grandfather’s or Grandmother’s brother.

Under the degree of prohibited relationship two parties cannot marry each other if they fall under the following relationship:

  1. A) Uncle and niece,
  2. B) Brother and Sister,
  3. C) Aunt and Nephew,
  4. D) Children of two brothers, sisters,
  5. E) Children of brother and sister.

Violation of sec 5(iv)

Under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, the marriage is void and under HMA 1955 there is a clause in the act which prescribes basic incarceration for up to one month, or with a fine that may be extended up to Rs 1,000, or with both.

5. Avoidance of Sapinda Relationship

This concept indicates that the marriage partners are not allowed to be sapindas of each other until the custom and usages allow them to do so. It is based on the rule of exogamy. In ancient Hindu law, it was considered a sinful act.

The provision under Hindu Marriage Act talks about the Sapinda relationship, one cannot marry ascendant within the five degrees to the other through the father side and three degrees of ascendant to the other through the mother side. It further states if one is a lineal descendant of the other within the limitations of the Sapinda relationship, or if they share a common lineal ascendant that is within the limits of Sapindas connection with regard to each of them, they are said to be Sapindas of each other.

For this purpose relationship includes:-

(i) Relationships based on half or uterine blood, as well as legal relationships;

(ii) Illegitimate blood relationship as well legitimate;

(iii) relationship by adoption as well as by blood.

Violation of sec 5(v)

Under Section 11 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 this type of marriage is void. Under Section 18 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, there is a clause in the act which prescribes simple incarceration for up to one month, or with the fine, which may be increased up to Rs 1,000, or with both.

Conclusion

Hindu marriage is in practice since old times. It is believed to be one of the most Holy Unions that can’t be broken. In earlier times it was considered that seven births are achieved to marry only one person with whom they tied knots for the first time. Marriage is a sacrament under Hindu law. Hindu Marriage Act promotes monogamy and prohibits people from doing exogamy.

For a valid Hindu marriage, there are some requirements that need to be fulfilled, under this act, there is some provision in which the parties must go under the ceremonies according to their custom and usage. For the marriage between two individuals, there should a legal age for both Parties. For a valid marriage, the parties should not fall under Sapinda, for marrying in their own Sapinda, there should be a gap of three and five generations.


Updated On 2 May 2022 8:10 AM GMT
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