A Take on the Matrimonial Laws in India

Published On: August 22, 2022

The right to marry and lead a blissful life is considered a right of both the parties. It states that not only the act or status should be performed by them but also the status as husband and wife in the society. Marriage is considered a foundation of a stable family and the union of two hearts.

In India, the Supreme court has provided the right to life and liberty under the constitution’s Article 21, which includes the right to marry. However, to be married lawfully, both the bride and the groom must comply with certain conditions laid down by the laws.

Marriage laws are varied and religion-specific, also referred to as personal laws. These rules vary according to the religion of the parties who wish to get married. Though the parliament has modified certain laws, some exist as per customs.

History of Marriage Laws

The first Governor-General of British India introduced the matrimonial laws in India, Warren Hastings, in 1772, followed by the British throughout their rule. The government continued pursuing the same rules even after the country’s independence.

The Various Matrimonial Laws In India

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955


The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 becomes applicable when the bride and groom are either Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs or Jains. It requires strict monogamy to be followed.

  • The party should not have any spouse living at the time of the marriage. (They should either be divorced or dead)
  • Neither party is incapable of giving a valid consent to the marriage due to an unsound mind.
  • The bride has completed the age of 18, and the bridegroom has completed the age of 21 at the time of marriage.
  • The couple are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless customs permits them.
  • According to the constitution, the couple should not be sapindas to one another unless the customs permits marriage between the two.

Section 7[12] defines the ceremonies to be performed in the Hindu marriage to solemnize are sagai, kanyadan and saptapadi.

Registration of marriage

Section 8 [15]has given the power to the state government to make rules for proof of marriage. The Hindu marriage registrar has been given all the power to direct the time for the parties to show their evidence and to get their certificate after payment of a prescribed fee.

The Indian- Christian Marriage Act, 1872

Certain conditions must be adhered to for a valid marriage under this 1872 Act. The act states either both the parties or one of them must be Christian. Marriage is legalized once the following requirements are fulfilled:

  • The age of the bride must be above 18, and the bridegroom must be above 21 years of age during the course of the marriage.
  • No consent should be forcefully obtained, and the parties to the marriage must give consent willingly to the ceremony.
  • During the course of the marriage, neither of the couples should have a living husband or wife
  • Two witnesses should be present before a marriage registrar, and the marriage must be performed before a marriage registrar who has the legal authority to grant the marriage certificate.
  • Granting Certificate of marriage

Section 61[30] states once the marriage is solemnized as per the provision stated there. The authorized person shall issue the certificate of marriage of solemnization after paying the prescribed fee (25 paise) and when the declaration has been made. The certificate must be signed by the authority as well as parties to the marriage. Section 61[32] makes the marriage certificate important as it is proof of marriage and will act as evidence of a valid marriage in court.

Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936

The Act under the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act 1936 states that the marriage ceremony is valid only after the Ashirvaad. Under Section 3 of the Act, the following are the conditions for a legal marriage:

  • The age of the bride must be above 18, and the bridegroom must be above 21 years of age during the course of the marriage.
  • Neither of the parties should be descendants of the same ancestors.
  • The marriage should be conducted in the presence of a Parsi priest and two Parsi witnesses as per the holy ceremony of Ashirvaad.
  • During the marriage, neither of the parties should have a living spouse at the time of marriage. (Divorced or dead.)

Section 6[35] says about the

Certificate and registry of marriage to both the parties wherein the parties to the marriage under this act after solemnization of marriage must be certified by the priest which should be signed by a priest, contracting parties as well as two witnesses after paying off the fee of 2 rupees by the husband to the registrar. The registrar must enter the certificate in his records.

Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937

The legalization of the Muslim community in India and the registration of the Muslim Marriage Registration Act, 1981 are done under this act. All Indian citizens come under this act, whether in India or abroad. The state of J&K does not come under this act. Certain necessary conditions have to be kept in mind.

  • In this marriage both the parties should be Muslims.
  • Necessary age should be complied with by each party, and they should be of sound mind to grant consent to the marriage.
  • Only a marriage officer under the provision of the act can legalize the marriage.
  • No force should be applied to get consent.
  • A lawful marriage requires the groom to make the proposal of marriage which then needs to be accepted by a relative appointed on behalf of the bride.
  • The entire process of the marriage should be performed in the same sitting, and there should not be any lag between the proposal and acceptance.

Special Marriage Act,1954

The Special Marriage Act applies to all the citizens of India. Any individual can perform and register their marriage under this act, irrespective of religion. Individuals who want their marriage registered under this Act should submit a notice to the marriage officer. The important provisions that are to be considered for a legal marriage are:

  • Neither party should have a spouse living at the time of marriage.
  • The groom should have completed the age of 21, and the bride should be above 18 years at the time of marriage.
  • Both parties should have the mental capacity to enter into the marriage.

Due to the religious diversity, there are various marriage laws in India. However, both spouses must follow the rules and regulations to get into a valid marriage.

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