Paid Advise

Conditions of Hindu Marriage

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate (Lucknow)

Online advising since Oct. 2014

33507 Advices

41371 Consultations

Reading Time:

Conditions of Hindu Marriage

Marriage is an exclusive and sacramental union. Before the 1955 era, it was not so easy to get divorced from a Hindu person. Because as per Hindu Religion, the marriage considered as a pious knot. So we cannot find any provision for Divorce in uncodified Hindu Law that is known as, Shashtras, Puranas, Ved and other religious or holy books related to Hindu Religion.

Hindus refined the institution of marriage and idealised it. In this process, they have laid down detailed rules covering practically all aspects of marriage. Under old Hindu law, the conditions required for a valid marriage were strict and elaborate. The legislature has modified the requirements by making various legislative enactments. Now the conditions are altered, liberalised or removed.

Considering various stigmas in the social life of the Hindu, the parliament decided to enact laws related to the Hindu. However, it was a difficult task to do so. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 revolves around the valid marriage between the Hindu, Valid rites of Hindu marriage, provisions for maintenance and divorce.

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 has simplified the law of marriage. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 does not prescribe any particular form of marriage. It merely lays down the conditions for a valid marriage. Now, the performance of marriage by the customary ceremonies prevalent in the community to which, the parties belong is necessary to render the marriage valid.

Conditions of marriage

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 have considerably modified the shastric conditions mentioned in Yajnavalkya smriti. Under old Hindu law, three conditions were mandatory for a valid marriage. The identity of caste between parties. i.e., the parties should belong to the same caste, unless sanctioned by custom. Parties to be beyond the prohibited degrees of relationship. i.e., were not of the same gotra or pravara and were not the sapinda of each other.


Proper performance of ceremonies of marriage

From Vedic period, though monogamy has been the rule, polygamy as an exception, existed side by side. The laws relating to ‘anuloma’ marriages allowed a man more than one wife. However, the wife who was first wedded was alone the wife in the fullest sense. Manu allowed a second marriage to a man only after the death of his wife. However, under certain circumstances, he allowed a second wife.

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 prohibits polygamy & polyandry. Sec.5 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 provides that “neither party has a spouse living at the time of marriage” This clause strictly enforces monogamy and prohibits polygamy and polyandry.

Section 17 of the Hindu Marriage Act makes it a penal offence for both Hindu males and females under Sections 494 and 495 I.P.C.

Polygamy permits a man to have more than one wife simultaneously.

* Polyandry allows a woman to have more than one husband simultaneously.

The second condition of a valid marriage requires that the parties to the marriage are of sound mind and are not suffering from any mental disability to be unfit for giving valid consent. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 originally laid down that neither party to the marriage should be an idiot or lunatic. Under this Act, the union of the idiot or lunatic was only voidable.

Soundness of mind

Section 5(ii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 laid down that: “Neither party to the marriage should be an idiot or lunatic at the time of marriage”. Every kind of ‘unsoundness of mind’ is not covered. The unsoundness of mind should be such, which incapacitates a person from giving a valid consent to the marriage. It need not be persistent or continuous unsoundness of mind. It may exist just before the wedding.

The Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 1999 has omitted epilepsy. Thus now there is no condition of the marriage that a party to a marriage should not suffer from ‘recurrent attacks of epilepsy. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 makes “free consent” a necessary element of a valid Hindu marriage.


Under Section 5 (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 the minimum age at the time of marriage for the girl is 18 and 21 for the boy. The Shastric law does not lay down any age for marriage.

Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929: (Sarda Act): The Act of 1929 enacted by the efforts of Rai Saheb Harbilas Sarda for the object of checking the evil of the child marriage. In this enactment, it laid down that at the time of marriage, the bride must have completed 14 years and the bridegroom 18 years.

Later on, by an amendment, the marriageable age of girls was raised to 15 years. A boy or a girl younger than this was declared a “child” and child marriage was made punishable. Nevertheless, it was a valid marriage. The Sarda Act, 1929 was enacted with a modest purpose in view. It does not purport to prohibit child marriages; it merely wants to restrain them.

A new Act, i.e. Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 has replaced the 1929 Act. According to that Act, the minimum age for the bride is 18 years at the time of marriage, and for the bridegroom, it is 21 years.

Whoever performs, conducts, directs or abets any child marriage shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years and shall be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees unless he had reasons to believe that the marriage was not a child marriage.

Every child marriage whether solemnised before or after the commencement of this Act shall be voidable at the option of the contracting party who was a child at the time of the marriage.

Prohibited degrees of relationship

Section 3, cl. (g) And Sec.5 (iv) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 deals with prohibited degrees of relationship. Section 5, cl. ( iv) prohibits marriage between persons who are within the prohibited degrees of relationship with each other.

According to Section 3(g), two persons are said to be within the degrees of prohibited relationship:

  • If one is a lineal ascendant of the other; or
  • If one was the wife or husband of a lineal ascendant or descendant of the other; or
  • If one was the wife of the brother or the father’s or mother’s brother or the grand father’s or grand mother’s brother or the other; or
  • If the two are brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew or children of brother and sister or of two brothers or two sisters.
  • However, if the “custom” or “usage” governing each of the parties to the marriage allows the marriage within the degrees of prohibited relationship, then such union will be valid and binding.
shivendra pratap singh advocate

Shivendra Pratap Singh

Advocate (Lucknow)

You can consult on Criminal, Civil, Matrimonial, Writ, Service matters, Property, Revenue and RERA related issues.

More For you

What happens if I break my girlFriend engagement? 

Question: What happens if I break my girlFriend engagement? My girlfriend is engaged with another person without informing me, now I want to marry her, but she moved on. What I can do in this situation shall I approach the groom to convince.  Asked from: Uttar Pradesh...

Marriage in young age valid or invalid

Question: Marriage in young age valid or invalid. My question is that if a family has married their children at a young age, then their marriage will be valid? If the children have grown up later then it's gonna be valid later? Or else it won't be valid because the...

Will my husband get baby boy custody?

Question: I got married on 3rd march 2020. I have a one year old baby boy. My husband is an alcoholic smoker, drug abuser, ganja addict. He is always there in fights, he even has a sword and gun, he beats me and even has extramarital affairs. Now I have left his house...

My minor son sent messages to my husband about my affair

Question: My minor son sent messages to my husband about my affair. He sent a message to my husband that I have an affair but later he realised and asked sorry, but husband using that message in court to prove I have affair what to do? Asked from: Karnataka I think...

How to get a mutual consent divorce within six months?

Question: I was married to my boyfriend when I was studying in B.Tech. We solemnised our marriage in a temple. How to get a mutual consent divorce within six months? All those things happened in hush-hush. No one knew about our marriage but we got registration of our...

Legal validity of consensual relationship with brother

Question: It is a complicated situation for me, I am a 40 year old lady. My husband was an abuser and we have legally divorced 6 years ago without any issues left. I left my hometown, came to Delhi to join a job and started staying with my brother who is never married...

Child Custody to a third party 

Question: My partner wishes that I could take legal custody over her. She is happy with her family but wants to leave. I live in the UK, and she lives in India. What (if any) are our options? Can the court allow child custody to a third party?  Asked from: Uttar...

Girl’s family is threatening for love jihad case

Question: My friend is muslim he loves hindu girl. Girl’s family is threatening for love jihad case so he want to convert to hindu religion. He loves that girl and agreed to change his religion. Now he is afraid that the girl’s family may file a case against him and...

How can I leave my husband’s home without his consent?

Question: Hello, I have been married for 6 yrs. And my in-laws have been demanding for more dowry. How can I leave my husband’s home without his consent? The gold gifted during my marriage is in my father in laws custody. Well I did not encourage more dowry and hence...

Kanoonirai has been advising in legal issues since October 2014. You can consult a lawyer through online media, telephonic consultation and video conferencing.