Institution of Marriage

Mains Marks Booster     3rd August 2023        

Marriage as not a mere convention, but an implicit condition of human society.” Dr. Radhakrishnan

Marriage is a social sanction of the union and it is accomplished by different rituals and ceremonies. It is institution devised for the expression and development of love.

Types of Marriage

Monogamy: Monogamy is the only form of marriage found in most societies; a man marries one woman, raises children within the wedlock and performs all rites with his mate.

Polygamy: Polygamy is defined as marriage between one person and two or more spouses simultaneously. It exists in two main forms:

  • Polygmy, where one man is married to several women.
  • Polyandry, where one woman is married to several men.

Levirate: Levirate is a form of marriage under which a woman is taken as the wife of the late husband’s younger brother.


Issue related to Marriages 

  • Forced marriages: In some cultures, individuals may be coerced or forced into marriages against their will, often leading to a lack of consent and potential violation of human rights.
  • Child marriage: Child marriage involves marrying children, usually below the age of 18. It deprives them of their childhood, education, and opportunities, and poses various health and social risks.
  • Arranged marriages: Arranged marriages are a cultural practice in which families or intermediaries play a significant role in selecting spouses for individuals. While some arranged marriages are successful, others may result in compatibility issues, lack of personal choice, or unequal power dynamics.
  • Dowry system: The dowry system involves the practice of giving substantial gifts or payments from the bride's family to the groom's family during marriage. This can lead to financial burden, exploitation, and gender-based violence.
  • Gender inequality: In many societies, marriage is affected by gender inequality. Women may face discrimination, limited decision-making power, unequal distribution of household chores, and unequal access to resources and opportunities within the marriage.
  • Interfaith or intercultural marriages: Marriages between individuals from different religious or cultural backgrounds can face challenges related to acceptance, understanding, and compatibility, particularly when families or communities hold rigid beliefs or traditions.
  • Marital abuse: Domestic violence and abuse can occur within marriages, affecting both men and women. Physical, emotional, and financial abuse can lead to severe consequences and long-lasting trauma.
  • Same-sex marriage: In some countries or societies, same-sex marriages face legal and societal challenges, including discrimination, lack of recognition, and denial of legal rights and protections.
  • Divorce and separation: Marital breakdown, divorce, and separation can lead to emotional distress, legal disputes, financial instability, and challenges in co-parenting, affecting both individuals and their families

Current issues related marriage

  • The Court has been hearing multiple petitioners’ requests for legal recognition of same-sex marriages under a special law.
  • The petitioners cited the Special Marriage Act, 1954, which provides a civil marriage for couples who cannot marry under their personal law, and appealed to the Court to extend the right to the LGBTQIA+ community, by making the “marriage between any two persons” gender neutral.
  • NRI marriages in India face challenges of abandonment, fraud, and financial exploitation. Jurisdictional complexities and cultural differences complicate redressal. Government initiatives aim to provide support and raise awareness.
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