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HINDU MARRIAGE ACT

Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 25 of 1955


  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Amending Acts
  • Act nº 25 of 1955

Preamble

THE HINDU MARRIAGE ACT,1955

[Act, No. 25 of 1955]1

[18th May, 1955]

PREAMBLE

An act to amend and codify the law relating to marriage among Hindus.

Be it enacted by Parliament in the Sixth Year of the Republic of India as follows:-

1. The Act has been extended to Dadra and Nagar Haveli with effect from 1.7.1965 by Regulation 6 of 1963, section 2 and Schedule I and to Pondicherry with effect from 1.10.1963 with modifications by Regulation 7 of 1963, section 3 and Schedule I.


Chapter 1

Section 1. Short title and extent

(1) This Act may be called the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and applies also to Hindus domiciled in the territoriesto which this Act extends who are outside the said territories.

Section 2. Application of Act

(1) This Act applies

(a) to any person who is a Hindu by religion in any 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:

(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 the tribe, community, group or family to which such parent belongs or belonged; and

(c) any person who is a convert or re-convert to the Hindu, Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh religion.

(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 Hindu 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 to whom this Act applies by virtue of the provisions contained in this section.

Section 3. Definitions

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,

(a) the expressions "custom" and "usage" signify any rule which, having been continuously and uniformly 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 the 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 ancesss but by different husbands;

(d) "ulterine blood'- tow persons are said to be related to each other by uterine blood when they are descended from a common ancestress 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 "sapindas" 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 of 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.

Section 4. Over-riding effect of Act

Save as otherwise expressly provided in this 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.

Chapter 2

Section 5. Conditions 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;

1 [(ii) at the time of the marriage, neither party-

(a) is incapable of giving a valid consent to it in consequence of unsoundness of mind; or

(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 2 [***];]

(iii) the bridegroom has completed the age of 3[twenty-one years] and the bride, the age of 4 [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;

5 [***]

1. Substituted by Act 68 of 1976, section 2, for clause (ii). (w.e.f. 27-5-1976)

2. The words "epilepsy" omitted by Act 39 of 1999. sec. 2 (w.e.f. 29-12-1999)

3. Substituted by Act 2 of 1978, section 6 and Schedule, for "eighteen years" (w.e.f. 1.10.1978.)

4. Substituted by Act 2 of 1978, section 6 and Schedule, for "fifteen years" (w.e.f. 1.10.1978.)

5. Clause (vi) omitted by Act 2 of 1978, section 6 and Schedule, (w.e.f. 1.10.1978.)


Section 6. Guardianship in marriage

[Rep. by the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act, 1978, (2 of 1978), section 6 and Schedule (w.e.f. 1.10.1978)].

Section 7. 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.

Section 8. Registration of Hindu marriages

(1) For the purpose of facilitating the proof of Hindu marriages, the State Government may make rules providing that the parties to any such marriage may have the particulars relating to their marriage entered in such manner and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed in a Hindu Marriage Register kept for the purpose.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the State Government may, if it is of opinion that it is necessary or expedient so to do, provide that the entering of the particulars referred to in sub-section (1) shall be compulsory in the State or in any part thereof, whether in all cases or in such cases as may be specified, and where any such direction has been issued, any person contravening any rule made in this behalf shall be punishable with fine which may extend to twenty-five rupees.

(3) All rules made under this section shall be laid before the State Legislature, as soon as may be, after they are made.

(4) The Hindu Marriage Register shall at all reasonable times be open for inspection, and shall be admissible as evidence of the statements therein contained and certified extracts therefrom shall, on application, be given by the Registrar on payment to him of the prescribed fee.

(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, the validity of any Hindu marriage shall in no way be affected by the omission to make the entry.

Chapter 3

Section 9. Restitution of conjugal rights

1[***] 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.

2[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.]

3[***]

1. The brackets and figure "(1)" omitted by Act 68 of 1976, section 3 (w.e.f. 27-5-1976)

2. Inserted by Act 68 of 1976, section 3 (w.e.f. 27-5-1976)

3. Sub-section (2) omitted by Act 68 of 1976, section 3 (w.e.f. 27-5-1976)


Section 10. Judicial separation

1[(1) Either party to a marriage, whether solemnised 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 specified in sub-section (2) thereof, as grounds on which a petition for divorce might have been presented.]

(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 statements made in such petition, rescind the decree if it considers it just and reasonable to do so.

1. Substituted by Act 68 of 1976, section 4, for sub-section (1) (w.e.f. 27-5-1976)


Chapter 4