Submitted by asandil on 2/12/2014

Hindu mythology says that marriage is a sanctified relation between a man and woman to stay together while taking the generation ahead with undaunted commitment towards religious values and belief. Hindu scriptures also define marriage as a divine path that leads both man and woman towards achieving the gist of life. In ancient times, Hindu gurus and other prime member of religious community were not in favour of formulating any legislation to govern the institution of marriage. The religious leaders were also of the view that marriage is not a matter to be subjected to legislative interference.

Despite confronting a huge amount of divergence of opinions, the Government of India enacted Hindu Marriage Act as an important branch of the Hindu Bill Code in the year 1955. The primary aim of this Act was to improve the law related to Hindu marriages. This Act was applicable upon all Hindus but didn’t pertain to any person belonging to Muslim, Christian or Parsi community. After the law came into force, a remarkable change appeared in the Hindu matrimonial arena across the country.

This Act, under Section 5, specifies some certain conditions for proper solemnization of marriage between a Hindu man and a woman. A few prime conditions are as follow:

No one of the two should have another partner at the time and during the phase of marriage. No one of the two should have any mental instability.

  • The man must be 21 years of age and the woman must be of18 years.
  • No one of the two should suffer from any incurable disease.

The Act has further provisions that make registration of each and every marriage mandatory. For registration, there is a prescribed format available with the concerned State Govt. bodies. The rules of this Act empower state govt. to penalize the person(s) behaving against the said rules. As per the provisions of the Act, both the parties enjoy the entitlement to approach the District Court for the restitution of their conjugal rights. In case, any of the partners does not want to stay in the company of the concerned husband/wife, he or she is legally entitled to take divorce after producing a solid reason for separation.

Following are the reasons under which a decree of divorce can be filed:

  • If anyone of the two is having sexual intercourse with any outer source after marriage
  • If anyone of the two is behaving in a callous and cruel way to his/her partner after marriage
  • If anyone of the two is having any unsoundness of mind that is medically incurable
  • Another ground is mutual consent, but it should not be a forced one in any way, it should be submitted only after six months of marriage.

In a revolutionary decision in the year 2012, the Supreme Course of India gave a ruling that no waiting period of 6 months is necessary if the ground for divorce is mutual consent. But the ruling was immensely opposed by the women forums across the nation, and as a result, the bill was again reproduced with some more safeguards for women.