Marriage is considered to be a sacred institution and very foundation of a stable family. it is also recognize constitutionally and is one of the component of right to life under article 21 of the constitution of India.[i] Universal declaration of human right, 1948 also recognize this right and article 16 of the same act states –
- Man and women have the right to marriage provided they have attained the valid age of marriage.
- Intending spouse must have the free consent to marriage.
Marriage is governed by personal laws which complied certain prerequisites and condition for a valid marriage. Muslim marriages are governed by shariat law in the same way Hindu marriages are governed by Hindu marriage act, 1955. Here let’s devote ourselves to Hindu marriages.
CONDITION PRESCRIBED UNDER HINDU MARRIAGE ACT, 1955 FOR MARRIAGES:
Section 5 of Hindu marriage act 1955 deals about condition for marriage and according to it a marriage may be solemnized between two Hindus if following condition are fulfilled and these are :
- Neither party has a spouse living at the time of the marriage;
- At the time of the marriage, neither party
- is incapable of giving a valid consent to it in consequence of unsoundness of mind
- 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
- subject to recurrent attack of insanity
- the bridegroom has completed the age of 21 and the bride, the age of 18 at the time of the marriage
- 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;
- the parties are not sapindas of each other, unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two
If the above conditions are not fulfilled than non-compliance with the condition may result in making the marriage void. Similarly if one of the spouses is already married, still marriage is solemnized then that marriage will be a void marriage. Unsoundness of marriage also results in making the marriage void. Further the party is of sound mind, but has any recurrent attacks or unfit for the procreation of child then this marriages would also not be considered a valid marriage. In addition to all these compliance to given age of marriage is also necessary for a marriage to be valid marriage. The given age limit is fixed in the year 2006 under child marriage prohibition act, 2006. The marriage under sapindas and degrees of prohibited relationship also does not make the marriage a valid marriage. The Act of 1955 as well as Yajnavalkya prohibits marriage between Sapindas. Yajnavalkya says Sapindas relationship extends up to 7 degrees for fathers side and up to 5 degrees for mothers side.
CEREMONIES TO MARRIAGE:
Vedic yajna rituals are the core essential of a Hindu marriage ceremony and there are basically three key rituals which are almost universal and these are:
Kanyadan is the giving away the daughter by the father and is essentially the most important ceremony before saptapadi. Panigrahana is something when both the spouse voluntarily holds hands near the fire to signify union. Lastly saptapadi is taking seven steps around the fire and is the most important ceremony in a Hindu marriage.
Section 7 of Hindu marriage act, 1955 talks of ceremonies and according to it:
- A Hindu marriage may be solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party.
- 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.
WHAT IF MARRIAGE IS SOLEMNIZED WITHOUT CEREMONIES?
In case of[ii] baburao Shankar lokhande and another v. the state of Maharashtra, it was held that for application of section 494 of ipc (bigamy) the marriage must be solemnized with proper ceremonies and rituals. It means marriage without ceremony is no marriage.
Hence Hindu marriage which is the very foundation of the family is an arrangement associated with condition which is necessary for a valid marriage. If the condition are not fulfilled or if for instance the consent is vitiated by fraud or force then these marriage cannot form a valid marriage. Similarly a marriage without ceremonies is no marriage.
[i] prof. kusum,family law i3-4(5th ed.lexisnexis,2021)
[ii]important case laws on Hindu marriage act, Delhi law academy(April 8,2021,6:24 pm)