Women empowerment issues – Jobs,Reservation and education

Hindu Marriage not valid without requisite Ceremonies: SC


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Features of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and its applicability

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • The Supreme Court recently emphasized the sacredness of Hindu marriage, stating it is not merely a social event but a ‘samskara’ and a sacrament of significant value in Indian society.
  • The court’s observations came in response to a case involving two commercial pilots seeking a divorce decree without a valid Hindu marriage ceremony.

About Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

Enactment Passed by the Parliament of India on May 18, 1955.
Purpose Amendment and codification of laws related to marriage among Hindus and others.
  • Applies to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, and others NOT governed by Muslim, Christian, Parsi, or Jewish laws.
  • NOTE: The Special Marriage Act, 1954 applies to all citizens of India, irrespective of religion, faith, or belief.  It facilitates inter-religious and inter-caste marriages.
Conditions for Marriage Section 5 specifies conditions including age, mental capacity, consent, and absence of prohibited relationships.

Features of the HMA

Guardianship for Marriage Section 6 outlines the persons entitled to give consent for a bride’s marriage.
Solemnization of Marriage Section 7 recognizes customary rites and ceremonies for Hindu marriage.
Registration of Marriage Section 8 allows for the registration of Hindu marriages for facilitating proof.
Ceremonies for a Hindu Marriage
  • Explains the special varieties of ceremonies that may be done to solemnize a Hindu marriage. Ex. ‘Saptapadi’
  • It acknowledges each conventional and court-registered marriage.
Restitution of Conjugal Rights Section 9 permits application for restitution of conjugal rights if one spouse withdraws without excuse.
Judicial Separation Section 10 provides for judicial separation based on certain grounds.
Nullity of Marriage and Divorce Grounds for voidable marriages and divorce specified in Sections 11-13.
Mutual Divorce Section 13B allows mutual divorce by consent of both parties.
Alimony and Maintenance Sections 24-25 enable spouses to seek maintenance and alimony post-divorce.
Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010 Proposed amendments for easier divorce on grounds of irretrievable breakdown.
Judicial Review Supreme Court rulings on divorce petitions and exercise of powers under Article 142.

Essence of Hindu Marriage: Supreme Courts’ Observations

  • Denouncement of Unrecognized Marriages:
      • The Supreme Court denounced the practice of seeking marital status without a valid ceremony.
      • Emphasized that marriage is a lifelong commitment and not to be treated lightly.
  • Sacred Character of Hindu Marriage:
      • Hindu marriage is termed as a ‘sacrament’ with a sacred character.
      • It symbolizes the unity of two individuals into a dignified, equal, and consensual union.
  • Institutional Importance:
      • Viewed as a vital institution for procreation, family consolidation, and fostering fraternity within communities.
  • Adherence to Rites and Ceremonies:
      • The court reiterated that a Hindu marriage must adhere to the rites and ceremonies prescribed under the Hindu Marriage Act.
      • For instance, the ‘saptapadi’ ceremony is essential for validity.
  • Role of Marriage Registration:
    • Marriage registration aids in providing evidence of the wedding.
    • However, it does not confer legitimacy if the marriage is not solemnized according to the Hindu Marriage Act.


[2020] Customs and traditions suppress reason leading to obscurantism. Do you agree?

[2015] Discuss the possible factors that inhibit India from enacting for its citizen a uniform civil code as provided for in the Directive Principles of State Policy.

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