THE HINDU MARRIAGE ACT, 1955
(Act 25 of 1955)[18th May, 1955]
Click to Read Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
This Act may be called the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
It 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.
Application of Act.- 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
(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,-
(a) any child, legitimate or illegitimate, both of whose parents are Hindus,
Buddhists, Jainas or Sikhs by religion;
(b) 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
(c) any person who is a convert or re-convert to the Hindus, Buddhist, Jaina or
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1),nothing contained in this
Act shall apply to the members of any Scheduled Tribe within the meaning of
clause (25) of Article 366 of the Constitution unless the Central Government, by
notification in the Official Gazette, otherwise directs.
(3) The expression “Hindus” in any portion of this Act shall be construed as if it
included a person who, though not a Hindu by religion is, nevertheless, a person whom this Act applies by virtue of the provisions contained in this section.
Condition for a Hindu Marriage– A marriage may be solemnized between any
two Hindus, if the following conditions are fulfilled, namely:
(i) neither party has a spouse living at the time of the marriage;
(ii) at the time of the marriage, neither party,-
(a) is incapable of giving a valid consent of it in consequence of unsoundness of
(b) though capable of giving a valid consent has been suffering from mental
disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and the
procreation of children; or
(c) has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy;
(iii) the bridegroom has completed the age of twenty one years and the bride the
age of eighteen years at the time of the marriage;
(iv) the parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the
custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two;
(v) the parties are not sapindas of each other, unless the custom or usage
governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two.
Ceremonies for a Hindu marriage-
(1) A Hindu marriage may be solemnized
in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party thereto.
(2) Where such rites and ceremonies include the saptapadi (that is, the taking of
seven steps by the bridegroom and the bride jointly before the sacred fire), the
marriage becomes complete and binding when the seventh step is taken.
Registration of Hindu Marriages-
It is upto the State Government whether Registration of Marriage is made compulsory or not or in what condition it is made compulsory.
Restitution of conjugal rights– When either the husband or the wife has,
without reasonable excuse, withdrawn from the society of the other, the aggrieved
party may apply, by petition to the district court, for restitution of conjugal rights
and the court, on being satisfied of the truth of the statements made in such
petition and that there is no legal ground why the application should not be
granted, may decree restitution of conjugal rights accordingly.
Explanation- Where a question arises whether there has been reasonable excuse
for withdrawal from the society, the burden of proving reasonable excuse shall be
on the person who has withdrawn from the society.
Judicial separation.- (1) Either party to a marriage, whether solemnized
before or after the commencement of this Act, may present a petition praying for a
decree for judicial separation on any of the grounds specified in sub-section (1) of
Section 13, and in the case of a wife also on any of the grounds might have been
(2) Where a decree for judicial separation has been passed, it shall no longer be
obligatory for the petitioner to cohabit with the respondent, but the court may, on
the application by petition of either party and on being satisfied of the truth of the
statement made in such petition, rescind the decree if it considers it just and
reasonable to do so.
Nullity of marriage and divorce- Void marriages.- Any marriage
solemnized after the commencement of this Act shall be null and void and may, on
a petition presented by either party thereto, against the other party be so declared
by a decree of nullity if it contravenes any one of the conditions specified in clauses
(i), (iv) and (v), Section 5.
(1) Any marriage solemnized, whether before or after the
commencement of the Act, may, on a petition presented by either the husband or
the wife, be dissolved by a decree of divorce on the ground that the other party-
(i) has, after the solemnization of the marriage had voluntary sexual intercourse
with any person other than his or her spouse; or
(ia) has, after the solemnization of the marriage, treated the petitioner with
(ib) has deserted the petitioner for a continuous period of not less than two years
immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; or
(ii) has ceased to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion ; or
(iii) has been incurably of unsound mind, or has suffering continuously or
intermittently from mental disorder of such a kind and to such an extent that the
petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent.
(iv) has been suffering from a virulent and incurable form of leprosy; or
(v) has been suffering from veneral disease in a communicable form; or
(vi) has renounced the world by entering any religious order; or
(vii) has not been heard of as being alive for a period of seven years or more by
those persons who would naturally have heard of it, had that party been alive;
Either party to a marriage, whether solemnized before or after the
commencement of this Act, may also present a petition for the dissolution of the
marriage by a decree of divorce on the ground-
(i) that there has been no resumption of cohabitation as between the parties to the
marriage for a period of one year or upwards after the passing of a decree for
judicial separation in a proceeding to which they were parties; or
(ii) that there has been no restitution of conjugal rights as between the parties to
the marriage for a period of one year or upward after the passing of a decree of
restitution of conjugal rights in a proceeding to which they were parties.
A wife may also present a petition for the dissolution of her marriage by a
decree of divorce on the ground-
(i) in the case of any marriage solemnized before the commencement of this Act,
that the husband had married again before the commencement or that any other
wife of the husband married before such commencement was alive at the time of
the solemnization of the marriage of the petitioner:
Provided that in either case the other wife is alive at the time of the presentation of
(ii) that the husband has, since the solemnization of the marriage, been guilty of
rape, sodomy or bestiality; or
(iii) that in a suit under Section 18 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act,
(78 of 1956), or in a proceeding under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure, 1973, (Act 2 of 1974) or under corresponding Section 488 of the Code
of Criminal Procedure, (5 of 1898), a decree or order, as the case may be, has
been passed against the husband awarding maintenance to the wife
notwithstanding that she was living apart and that since the passing of such decree
or order, cohabitation between the parties has not been resumed for one year or
(iv) that her marriage (whether consummated or not) was solemnized before she
attained the age of fifteen years and she has repudiated the marriage after
attaining that age but before attaining the age of eighteen years.
Explanation.- This clause applies whether the marriage was solemnized before or
after the commencement of the Marriage Law (Amendment) Act, 1976.
13-A. Alternate Relief in Divorce Proceedings.- If any proceeding under this
Act, on a petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce, except in so
far as the petition is founded on the grounds mentioned in clauses (ii), (vi) and
(vii) of sub-section (1) of Section 13, the court may, if it considers it just so to do
having regard to the circumstances of the case, pass instead a decree for judicial
Divorce by mutual consent.-(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act a
petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce may be presented to the
District Court by both the parties to a marriage together, whether such marriage
was solemnized before or after the commencement of the Marriage Laws
(Amendment) Act, 1976, on the ground that they have been living separately for a
period of one year or more, that they have not been able to live together and that
they have mutually agreed that the marriage should be dissolved.
(2) On the motion of both the parties made earlier than six months after the date
of the presentation of the petition referred to in sub-section (1) and not later than
eighteen months after the said date, if the petition is not withdrawn in the mean
time, the Court shall, on being satisfied, after hearing the parties and after making
such inquiry as it thinks fit, that a marriage has been solemnized and that the
averments in the petition are true, pass a decree of divorce declaring the marriage
to be dissolved with effect from the date of the decree.
No petition for divorce to be presented within one year of marriage.-
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, it shall not be competent for
any Court to entertain any petition for dissolution of marriage by a decree of
divorce, unless at the date of the presentation of the petition one year has elapsed
since the date of the marriage:
Provided that the court may, upon application made to it in accordance with such
rules as may be made by the High Court in that behalf, allow a petition to be
presented before one year has elapsed since the date of the marriage on the
ground that the case is one of exceptional hardship to the petitioner or of
exceptional depravity on the part of the respondent
Divorce is related to the marriage.
What is marriage as per Hindu Marriage Act
Hindu marriage joins two individuals for life, so that they can pursue dharma (duty), artha (possessions), kama (physical desires), and moksha (ultimate spiritual release) together. It is a union of two individuals as husband and wife, and is recognized by law. In Hinduism, marriage is followed by traditional rituals for consummation. In fact, marriage is not considered complete or valid until consummation. It also joins two families together. Favorable colours are normally red and gold for this occasion.
The use of Janam Kundali (astrological chart at the time of birth) of the son/daughter to match with the help of a priest is common, but not universal. Parents also take advice from the brahman called ‘Jothidar’ in Tamil or ‘panthulu or siddanthi ‘ in Telugu and Kundali Milaan in northern India, who has details of many people looking to get married. Some communities, like the Brahmans in Mithila, use genealogical records (“Panjikas”) maintained by the specialists.
Wedding ceremonies can be expensive, and costs are typically borne by the parents. It is not uncommon for middle-or upper-class weddings to have a guest list of over 500 people. Often, a live instrumental band plays. Vedic rituals are performed and the family and friends then bless the couple. Food is served to all the invitees with lots of delicacies. The wedding celebrations can take up to one week depending on the practice in different parts of India.It is often unnoticed that a marriage betweeen a non-hindu and a hindu would be deemed invalid under HMA.
Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the termination of a marriage or marital union, the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the particular country or state. Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, but in most countries divorce requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process, which may involve issues of alimony (spousal support), child custody, child visitation / access, parenting time, child support, distribution of property, and division of debt. In most countries, monogamy is required by law, so divorce allows each former partner to marry another person; where polygyny is legal but polyandry is not, divorce allows the woman to marry another person.
Divorce should not be confused with annulment, which declares the marriage null and void, with legal separation or de jure separation (a legal process by which a married couple may formalize a de facto separation while remaining legally married) or with de facto separation (a process where the spouses informally stop cohabiting). Reasons for divorce vary, from sexual incompatibility or lack of independence for one or both spouses to a personality clash.