Marriage under Hindu Law

Hindu Marriage refers to kanyadan which means gifting a girl to the boy by the father with all the tradition and rites or custom. Hindu marriage is an ancient tradition which is prevailing from the Vedic periods to the modern world with different modifications that have occurred until now. There are 16 sacraments in the Shastri Hinduism in which marriage is one of the important sacraments of Hinduism.

For a long period of time Hindu marriage rites have been changed accordingly due to the needs and convenience of the people from time to time. It is the relationship between husband and wife. According to Veda, a man is incomplete until he gets married and meets with his partner.

There are three forms of marriage which are been described in Shastri’s law as valid and regular:

  • Brahma Marriage 
  • Gandharva marriage
  • Asura marriage

Valid, Void & Voidable Marriage under Hindu Law

Valid Marriage (Section 5)

Valid marriage shall be solemnized between two Hindus if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • Any person doesn’t have a spouse living at the time of the marriage. According to the Hindu Marriage Act, it is not permissible to have two living wives at the same point in time, which amounts to bigamy. It is punishable under Section 494 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • The groom shall attain the age of 21 and the bride attains the age of 18. It is necessary at the time of marriage the person shall attain the specified age given in this Act.
  • The consent shall not be given by coercion or threat. In the modern world, a father can’t get the girl married to any without a girl’s consent. Marriage will be void. 
  • They don’t fall under the Sapinda relationship, or within the degree of prohibited relationship unless it is allowed by their custom or tradition.
  • The person shall be not suffering from any insanity or mental disorder at the time of the marriage.

Void Marriage (Section 11)

A marriage is considered void under the Hindu Marriage Act if it doesn’t fulfils the following conditions of Section 5. Section 11 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1996 states that any marriage solemnized after the commencement of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, if it contravenes any of the provisions of this act, the marriage will be void. The marriage will have not any legal entity nor will it be enforceable.

Voidable Marriages (Section 12)

A marriage which can be annulled or avoided at the option of one or both the parties is known as a voidable marriage. A voidable marriage remains valid and binding and continues to subsist for all purposes, unless a decree is passed by the court annulling the same on any of the grounds mention in the section.

Grounds for Voidability of the Marriage

A decree of nullity can be granted under Section 12 only on the grounds mention in the Section and not merely because the parties to the marriage cannot live happily together for any domestic reasons. The Court must look only to the provisions of the Act and see whether the requirements of Section 12 are satisfied and whether there are any grounds for refusing relied under Section 23(1). This section lays down four grounds on which a Hindu marriage becomes voidable. These are:

(i) Inability of the respondent to consummate the marriage on account of his or her impotency.

(ii) Respondents incapacity to consent or suffering from a mental disorder.

(iii) Consent of the petitioner being obtained by fraud or force.

(iv) Concealment of Pre-marriage pregnancy by the Respondent.

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