HINDU MARRIAGE ACT 1955 (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Indian Society)

News-CRUX-10     2nd May 2024        

Context: Recently, the Supreme Court emphasized that a Hindu marriage transcends mere celebration, stating it's a sacred process, not merely "song and dance" or "wining and dining," thus asserting that adherence to prescribed rituals under the Hindu Marriage Act is crucial for validity, even after registration.

Hindu Marriage Act 1955

  • About: It was enacted by the Parliament of India on May 18, 1955.
  • Purpose: To define and alter the laws concerning marriage involving Hindus and others.
  • Features of the Hindu Marriage Act

o Monogamy Mandate: Bigamy is prohibited under Section 5 of the Act, disallowing a man from having more than one wife simultaneously.

o Minimum Age Requirement: Both parties must meet the age criteria specified in Section 5(iii) of the Act: 21 for the groom and 18 for the bride.

o Restitution of Marital Rights: Section 9 of the Act provides for the recovery of conjugal rights, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the marital bond.

o Voidable Marriages: Marriages where a partner was mentally incompetent at the time or lacked legal consent are considered void under Section 5(ii)(a), (b), (c).

o Validity through Traditional Rites: Marriages conducted with traditional rites and customs are recognized under the Act, with legal obligations placed on the father to care for post-marriage children.

  • Important Sections of the Hindu Marriage Act: 

o Section 5: It outlines the requirements for a Hindu marriage.

o Section 9: It pertains to the reinstatement of marital rights.

o Section 13: It deals with the grounds for divorce, specifying when a couple can petition for divorce in court.

o Section 24: It addresses post-divorce maintenance and financial assistance.