The Hindu Marriage Act 1955 – Introduction, Definition, Purpose, Applicability

The Hindu Marriage Act 1955 : Earlier we’ve provided the list of sections in The Hindu Marriage Act 1955. Today in this article, we are providing the Introduction, Definition, Purpose, Applicability of The Hindu Marriage Act 1955. This act was intended to secure the rights of marriage for the bride and groom who are Hindu and are bound under the sacred bond of marriage under any ceremony.

Introduction of The Hindu Marriage Act 1955

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is an Act to amend and codify the law relating to marriage. Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is enacted as part of the Hindu Code Bills. The Hindu Marriage Act 1955 provides guidance for Hindus to be in a systematic marriage bond. The Act gives meaning to marriage, cohabiting rights for both the bride and groom, and a safety for their family and children so that they do not suffer from their parental issues.

  • Citation – Act No. 25 of 1955
  • Enacted by Parliament of India
  • Date enacted – 18 May 1955
  • Date commenced – 18 May 1955
  • List of sections in The Hindu Marriage Act 1955
  • The Act 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.

Definition of Hindu Marriage – Section 3

As per Section 3 of The Hindu Marriage Act

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,-

(a) the expression “custom” and “usage” signify any rule which, having been continuously and uniformally observed for a long time, has obtained the force of law among Hindus in any local area, tribe, community, group or family:

Provided that the rule is certain and not unreasonable or opposed to public policy; and Provided further that in the case of a rule applicable only to a family it has not been discontinued by the family;

(b)”District Court” means, in any area for which there is a City Civil Court, that Court, and in any other area the principal Civil Court of original jurisdiction, and includes any other civil court which may be specified by the State Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, as having jurisdiction in respect of matters dealt with in this Act;

(c)”full blood”and “half blood”- two persons are said to be related to each other by full blood when they are descended from a common ancestor by the same wife and by half blood when they are descended from a common ancestor but by different wives;

(d)”uterine blood” – two persons are said to be related to each other by uterine blood when they are descended from a common ancestor but by different husbands.

Explanation.- In Clauses (c) and (d) “ancestor” includes the father and “ancestress” the mother;

(e)”prescribed” means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

(f)(i)”Sapinda relationship” with reference to any person extends as far as the third generation(inclusive) in the line of ascent through the mother, and the fifth (inclusive) in the line of ascent through the father, the line being traced upwards in each case from the person concerned, who is to be counted as the first generation;

(ii) two persons are said to be “sapinda” of each other if one is a lineal ascendant of the other within the limits of sapinda relationship, or if they have a common lineal ascendant who is within the limits of sapinda relationship with reference to each of them;

(g)”degrees of prohibited relationship ” – two persons are said to be within the “degrees of prohibited relationship”-

(I) if one is a lineal ascendant of the other; or

(ii) if one was the wife or husband of a lineal ascendant or descendant of the other;
or

(iii)if one was the wife of the brother or of the father’s or mother’s brother or of the grandfather’s or grandmother’s brother or the other; or

(iv)if the two are brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, or children of brother and sister or of two brothers or of two sisters.

Explanation.- for the purposes of clauses (f) and (g) relationship includes-

(I) relationship by half or uterine blood as well as by full blood;

(ii) illegitimate blood relationship as well as legitimate;

(iii) relationship by adoption as well as by blood; and all terms of relationship in those clauses shall be construed accordingly.

Purpose of The Hindu Marriage Act & Law

The main purpose of the Hindu Marriage act was to amend and codify the law relating to marriage among Hindus and others.  Besides amending and codifying Sastrik Law, it introduced separation and divorce, which did not exist in Vedas / Sastrik Law. This enactment brought uniformity of law for all sections of Hindus. As there are different religions and customs in India, there are religion-specific civil codes that separately govern adherents of certain other religions.

Applicability The Hindu Marriage Rules & Law – Section 2

As per Section 2 of The Hindu Marriage Act

(1) This Act applies,-

(a) to any person who is a Hindu by religion in any of 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,-

  1. any child, legitimate or illegitimate, both of whose parents are Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas or Sikhs by religion;
  2. 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
  3. any person who is a convert or re-convert to the Hindus, Buddhist, Jaina or
    Sikh religion.

Overriding effect of Act

(a) any text,rule or interpretation of Hindu Law or any custom or usage as part of that law in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall cease to have effect with respect to any matter for which provision is made in this Act;

(b) any other law in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall cease to have effect in so far as it is inconsistent with any of the provisions contained in this Act.

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