The Hindu Marriage Act: what we need to know about it

In an attempt to amend and codify the law relating to marriage among Hindus, the Hindu Marriage Act, as part of the Hindu Code Bill, was passed by the Parliament of India in 1955. The law brought in some new concept to Hindu marriage which was alien. For instance, it was for the first time that legal separation and divorce were introduced to Hindu marriage by this law.

Apart from bringing up uniformity of law for all sections of Hindus, the Hindu Marriage Act has been able to regulate the personal life among the Hindus, especially their institution of marriage, legitimacy of marriages and conditions for divorce and applicability, etc. amongst others. It recognizes all non-Abrahmic religions as Hindus.

Thus, the Hindu Marriage Act is applicable to Jains, Sikh, Buddhists, and Prarthana, Arya and Brahmo Samajas as well. The Act has balanced the matrimonial laws of Hindus and made them comparable with the ones available in the western democracies. The insertion of clauses for divorce gave the much needed respite to the failed marriages.

The Hindu Marriage Act Made Divorce Easy, Yet a Lot of Court Cases Pending

Now, under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act and Section 27 of the Special Marriage Act, any party file a suit for divorce on the various grounds mentioned specifically. Similarly, Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act and Section 28 of the Special Marriage Act provide for divorce by mutual consent.

A lot of efforts are being made to facilitate divorce in situations where the marriages have become living hell. However, a major concern even now is that a lot of divorce cases are pending with the courts. The Indian government has responded to a rise in marital breakups and a backlog in divorce cases and proposing an amendment to make it easier.

Is Registration of Marriage Essential Under the Hindu Marriage Act?

The Section 8 of the Hindu Marriage Act says that the state government may make rules for the registration of Hindu marriages that the parties to any of such marriages may have particulars relating to their marriages entered in such a manner and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed in the Hindu Marriage Register.

A lot of governments like Delhi NCR have the compulsory registration of the Hindu marriage. The section was added for facilitating the proof of Hindu marriages, particularly wherein the rituals are ambiguous and may create an impression that the marriage was never solemnized. In such situations the relief that is needed from marital disputes is not available for the parties.