Essentials of a Valid Hindu Marriage
ESSENTIALS OF A VALID HINDU MARRIAGE:
- Must not have a spouse alive.
- neither party is
- incapable of giving consent due to unsoundness of mind.
- though capable of giving consent, is unfit for marriage and procreation of children due to mental disorder.
- suffers from recurrent attacks of insanity.
- Boy is over 21 and girl is over 18.
- Parties are not within degrees of prohibited relationship.
- Parties are not sapindas. For example, if the bride is the offspring of any person within five generations (inclusive) on the groom’s father’s side and three generations (inclusive) on the groom’s mother’s side, or vice-versa, they will be referred to as “sapindas” of each other. In these cases, the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 bars marriage between two Hindus.
THE NON-PERFORMANCE OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED ESSENTIALS MAKE THE MARRIAGE EITHER VOID OR VOIDABLE.
Hindu Marriage is a sacred ceremony and not a contract between parties. A Hindu marriage maybe solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of the party thereto. Where such rites and ceremonies include the saptapadi (that is, the taking of seven steps by the bridegroom ad the bride jointly before the sacred fire), the marriage becomes complete and binding when the seventh step is taken. Therefore, simply exchanging garlands does not constitute to comply with the compulsory ceremonies and hence the marriage is null and void.
In contravention to point no. 1,4 and 5 (as states under essentials of a valid marriage) are void marriages i.e. they do not exist in the eyes of law from the very beginning. Thus, a second marriage under hindu law, while having a spouse from before, is not considered a valid marriage and the second marriage will be null and void from the beginning.
A voidable marriage is a valid marriage till it is avoided and a voidable marriage can be avoided only on petition by either party to the marriage. The marriage is fully valid until it is declared void by the court.
GROUNDS OF VOIDABLE MARRIAGES:
- Unable to consummate – Impotence (not same as incapacity to conceive or impregnate)
- In contravention to point no. 2 – Mentally unsound.
- Consent to marry obtained by force or fraud.
- Girl was pregnant by some other person
Marriage laws for Muslims are different and are governed by the Muslim Personal Law and Muslim women (protection of right on divorce) act 1986. Marriage laws for Christians are governed by The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 and parsis by the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act 1936.