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Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

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HomeBrud.gifIndian LawBrud.gifIndian ActsBrud.gifHindu Marriage Act, 1955

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is an important Act in the Family Law.


  • Section 1(2): Domicile of the parties becomes relevant if the parties are outside India.
  • Section 3(a): Defines 'Custom' as: "The expression 'custom' or 'usage' signify the rule which, having been continuously and uniformly observed for a long time, has obtained the force of the law among family; provided that the rule is certain and not unreasonable or opposed to public policy; and provided further that in case of rule applicable only to a family it is not discontinued by the family".
  • Section 5 & 7: Hindu Marriage has both religious and secular aspects and therefore, it is to be treated both as a sacrament and a contract
  • Section 7: Statutory recognition to the marriage under the Hindu Law as a sacrament

Registration of marriage

  • Section 8: Provides for the registration of a Hindu marriage. Registration is not compulsory.
  • Section 8(2): State Government is empowered to make rules for keeping Marriage Registers etc.
  • Section 8(5): Failure to register does not affect the validity of a marriage
  • Section 13B: Divorce by mutual consent
  • Registration alone will not make a marriage valid

Conditions of Hindu Marriage

  • 5 Conditions
    • Parties to be Hindus
    • At the time of marriage, neither of the parties should have a spouse living
    • Marriage performed within one year of decree of divorce would be invalid. (because of violation of Section 15)
    • Neither of the party should be an idiot or lunatic at the time of marriage
    • Any other disease
    • Age of parties

Sections from the Act

  • Section 1: Short title and extent
  • Section 2: Application of Act
  • Section 3: Definitions
  • Section 4: Oveirriding effect of Act
  • Section 5: Conditions for a Hindu marriage
  • Section 6: Guardianship in marriage
  • Section 7: Ceremonies for a Hindu marriage
  • Section 8: Registration of Hindu marriages
  • Section 9: Restitution of conjugal right
  • Section 10: Judicial separation
  • Section 11: Void marriages
  • Section 12: Voidable marriages
  • Section 13: Divorce
  • Section 14: No petition for divorce to be presented within one year of marriage
  • Section 15: Divorced persons when may marry again
  • Section 16: Legitimacy of children of void and voidable marriages
  • Section 17: Punishment of bigamy
  • Section 18: Punishment for contravention of certain other conditions for a Hindu marriage

Jurisdiction and Procedure

  • Section 19: Court to which petition shall be presented
  • Section 20: Contents and verification of petitions
  • Section 21: Application of Act 5 of 1908
  • Section 22: Proceedings to be in camera and may not be printed or published
  • Section 23: Decree in proceedings
  • Section 24: Maintenance Pendente lite and expenses proceedings
  • Section 25: Permanent alimony and maintenance
  • Section 26: Custody of children
  • Section 27: Disposal of property
  • Section 28: Appeals from decrees and orders

Savings and Repeals

  • Section 29: Savings
  • Section 30: Repeals


The Act does not apply to the Scheduled Tribes that are included within the meaning of Article 366 of the Constitution of India.

Recent Cases / Related Cases / Case Law

  • Kaur Singh vs Jagar Singh, AIR 1961 Pb. 489: Customs could be local customs prevailing in a community or area. The Jats of Punjab are predominantly agricultural tribes and their main source of living is agriculture.
  • Pashpavati vs P Visheswar, AIR 1964 SC 118; Devender Singh vs State of MP 1976 HLR 712(MP): In case of family customs, instances of support of custom may not be as many or as frequent as in case of customs pertaining to a territory or to the community or to the character of any estate.
  • Gokulchand vs Parvin Kumar, AIR 1952 SC 231: According to the English rule of antiquity, a custom to be valid must be old that memory of men runneth not to the contrary. This rule is not applicable in India.
  • Abdul Hussain vs Bibi Sona, AIR 1917 PC 181: For a custom to modify ordinary law, it should be ancient, invariable and should be established by clear and unambiguous evidence.
  • Hurpurshad vs Sheo Dyal (1876) 3 IA 259: It is difficult to start a new custom because it needs to be of ancient origin.
  • Mohandas vs Devaswom Board: In regard to conversion to Hinduism, no formal ceremony of purification or expiation as such is necessary and a bona fide intention to accept the Hindu faith, accompanied by a conduct unequivocally expressing that intention may be sufficient evidence of such a conversion.
  • Durgaprasada Rao vs Sidar Sanaswami: A mere theological allegiance to the Hindu faith by a person born in another faith does not convert him into a Hindu, nor is bare declaration that he is a Hindu sufficient to convert him to Hinduism. A bona fide intention to be converted to the Hindu faith, accompanied by conduct unequivocally expressing that intention may be sufficient evidence of conversion.
  • Soorendranath Roy vs Heeramonee 12 MIA 81: The law of origin to which a person is subject is not merely a local law, it becomes the personal law and part of the status of every family which is governed by it.

Recent Cases / Related Cases related to Marriage and Custom of Dowry

  • Rajgopala Iyer vs Venkatarama (1947) 2 MLJ 37 (PC): The liability to marry a daughter is not a personal obligation of the father.
  • Ram Chandra vs Seenithal, AIR 1954 Mad 1011: Daughters have right to maintenance and marriage expenses from the joint family property ... right to a share ... created by birth

Recent Cases / Related Cases related to Ceremonies of Marriage

  • Ram Piayar vs Deva Rama, AIR 1923 Ran 202.: Seven steps of Saptapadi does not mean seven rounds around the fire.
  • S M Syed Abdul Basith vs Asst. Commissioner of Police AIR 2009 NOC 2413 (Ker): Mere agreement without ceremonies does not constitute any marriage. The parties entered into agreement on a Rs. 50 stamp paper before the Sub-registrar mentioning them as husband and wife.
  • S Nagalingam vs Sivagami AIR 2001 SC 3576: Where Saptapadi was not necessary ceremony as part of customary rites, it need not be performed.
  • Ram Avadh vs Krishna Nand Lal AIR 1981 All 432: Saptapadi is a necessary ceremony in Arya Samajit marriage
  • In re Raghava Reddy AIR 1968 AP 117: Amongst Telangana Reddy, Homa and Saptapadi are not necessary ceremonies.
  • Baburao vs Laxmibai 1995 II DMC 326: In Maratha community, the Lajahoma and Saptapadi are not necessary ceremonies.

Recent Cases / Related Cases to Registration

  • Valasamma Paul vs Cochin University AIR 1996 SC 1010: When a valid marriage is entered into by the parties, the acceptance (recognition) by the community or parents is not required.
  • P Ramesh Kumar vs Secretary AIR 1998 Ker 95 : Denial of marriage certificate on the ground the one of the party is a foreigner (domicile) is not correct.
  • Nishana vs Alappuzha Municipality AIR 2009 Ker 203: Presence of both the parties is not necessary unless there is a doubt as to the identity of person, according to Kerala Registration of Marriage Rules.

Recent Cases / Related Cases to Conditions of Hindu Marriage

Related Cases / Recent Cases to Court handling of cases

  • Krishna Veni Nagam v Harish nagam, Civil Original Jurisdiction, Transfer Petition (Civil) No 1912 OF 2014, Supreme Court of India judgment dated March 9, 2017: In matrimonial or custody matters or in proceedings between parties to a marriage or arising out of disputes between parties to a marriage, wherever the defendants/respondents are located outside the jurisdiction of the court, the court where proceedings are instituted, may examine whether it is in the interest of justice to incorporate any safeguards for ensuring that summoning of defendant/respondent does not result in denial of justice. Order incorporating such safeguards may be sent along with the summons. The safeguards can be:- i) Availability of video conferencing facility. ii) Availability of legal aid service. iii) Deposit of cost for travel, lodging and boarding in terms of Order XXV CPC. iv) E-mail address/phone number, if any, at which litigant from out station may communicate.

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