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The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

Indian Law Relating to Marriage among Hindus

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This Act of the Government of India, called the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, "extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and applies also to Hindus domiciled in the territories to which this Act extends who are outside the said territories." Below is an excerpt from the full text of the Act 25 of 1955 - 18th May, 1955.

Application of Hindu Marriage Act

(1) This Act applies,-

(a) 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;
(b) to any person who is a Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh by religion, and
(c) 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, Jainas or Sikhs by religion, as the case may be,-

(a) any child, legitimate or illegitimate, both of whose parents are Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas or Sikhs by religion;
(b) any child, legitimate or illegitimate, one of whose parents is a Hindu, Buddhist Jaina 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, Jaina or Sikh religion.

(2) 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.

(3) 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.

Condition for a Hindu Marriage

A marriage may be solemnized between any two Hindus, if the following conditions are fulfilled, namely:

(i) neither party has a spouse living at the time of the marriage;

(ii) at the time of the marriage, neither party,-
(a) is incapable of giving a valid consent of it in consequence of unsoundness of mind; or
(b) though capable of giving a valid consent has been suffering from mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and the procreation of children; or
(c) has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy;

(iii) the bridegroom has completed the age of twenty one years and the bride the age of eighteen years at the time of the marriage;

(iv) the parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two;

(v) the parties are not 'sapindas' of each other, unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two;

Ceremonies for a Hindu Marriage

(1) A Hindu marriage may be solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party thereto.

(2) Where such rites and ceremonies include the 'saptapadi' (that is, the taking of seven steps by the bridegroom and the bride jointly before the sacred fire), the marriage becomes complete and binding when the seventh step is taken.

Registration of Hindu Marriages

(1) For the purpose of facilitating the proof of Hindu marriages, the State Government may make rules providing that the parties to any such marriage may have the particulars relating to their marriage entered in such manner and subject to such condition as may be prescribed in a Hindu Marriage Register kept for the purpose.

NOTE: The above text is only an excerpt. For full and exact text of the Act, including explanations, definitions and Nullity of Marriage and Divorce, please read the Act 25 of 1955 - 18th May, 1955.

See also: Hindu Divorce Act, 1869

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