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HINDU MARRIAGE AND LAW

 

          India, under Constitution of India has given right to their citizens to be govern under personal laws of their religion. The personal laws applies to marriage and divorce.

          As part of the Hindu Code Bill, the Hindu Marriage Act was enacted by Parliament in 1955 to amend and to codify marriage law between Hindus. The main purpose of the act was to amend and codify the law relating to marriage among Hindus and others. Besides amending and codifying Sastrik Law, it introduced separation and divorce, which did not earlier. This law has promoted the uniformity in the matter of marriage, divorce, maintenance and other aspects of personal lifes among hindus etc.

          This Act applies 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; and to any person who is a Buddhist, Jain 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. The Act applies to any person who is Hindu by religion in any of its forms, yet groups other religions into the act (Jains, Buddhists, or Sikhs) as per Article 44 (Uniform Civil Code) of the Indian Constitution. However, after passing of Anand Marriage (Amendment) Bill in 2012, Sikhs now also have their own personal law related to marriage. This law is binding to any person who is Hindu by Birth or Hindu by Religion. There is a complete definition of Hindu under Section 2 of Hindu Marriage Act.

          Under section 3 Hindu Marriage Act recognizes the customs and usages and its reasonableness in the context of Hindu Marriage. Hindu Marriage act also provides detailed definition of prohibited degrees of marriages among Hindus and also provides sapinda relationship.

          Hindu Marriage Act provides the conditions for Hindu Marriage. Hindu Marriage Act totally prohibits bigamy and polygamy. The act also provides that parties to the marriage should be of sound mind. The eligibility age for marriage is for bridegroom 21 years completed and for bride 18 years completed at the time of marriage. Further the parties to the marriage should not be sapindas to each other and they are not within the prohibited degrees of marriage. It provides that hindu marriage may be solemnized as per customs and rites of either party and where saptpadi is included in custom then the marriage become complete and binding when the seventh step is taken. The marriages in violation of the conditions shall be declare as nullity.

          The act provides for restitution of conjugal rights where either husband or wife has without reasonable excuse withdrawn from the society of the other the aggrieved party may apply for restitution of conjugal rights. It also provides for judicial separation by the court to either husband or wife.

            Further the act provides for divorce and mutual consent divorce which was not there in early personal laws. It provides that no petition for divorce can be presented within one year of marriage. The act also provides right to remarry divorcee. The act provides maintenance, maintenance pendent lite and expenses of proceedings to either party to marriage who has no independent income further the act provides for permanent alimony and maintenance to either of the party to marriage on application. The act also provides for custody of children, maintenance and education expense during the proceedings and after the proceedings.

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