The concept of marriage under the Hindu law
For a long period of time Hindu marriage rites have been changed accordingly due to the needs and convenience of the people from time to time. It is the relationship between husband and wife. According to Hinduism, this sacrament is one of the most important sacraments out of 16 sacraments in Hinduism. It is a sacred tie that can’t be broken. It is a relationship from birth to birth, it is a bond which continues after rebirth and death. According to Veda, a man is incomplete until he gets married and meets with his partner.
Sacramental Nature of Marriage
Characteristics of the Sacramental Nature of a Hindu Marriage
Hindu marriage is “a religious sacrament in which a man and a woman are bound in a permanent relationship for the physical, social and spiritual need of dharma, procreation and sexual pleasure.”
There are three characteristics of the sacramental nature of marriage:
It is an enduring bond of the husband and wife which is permanent and tied even after death and they will remain together after the death.
Once it is tied cannot be untied.
It is a religious and holy union of the bride and groom which is necessary to be performed by religious ceremonies and rites.
Hindu marriage is considered as one of the most important sacraments. In ancient times, there was no need for the girls’ consent. Fathers have to decide the boy without asking for her advice or consent. It is the sole duty of the father to find a suitable boy. If the person was of unsound mind or minor at the time of the marriage, it was not considered as a void marriage. But in the present world, consent and mental soundness of the person are a very essential part of the Hindu Marriage, without the absence of any such element marriage will be annulled or void or no legal entity.
Section 12 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 lays down that when one’s consent is not obtained, the marriage is considered void. It shows that despite the absence of consent of the bride, the marriage is valid and legal.
The nature of modern marriage is contractual. Thus, it accepts the idea of equality and liberty. It has been adopted due to western Ideas. There must be an agreement of voluntarily entering into it by both parties.
Thus, the Hindu marriage is not a contract and neither is it a sacrament. But it can be said it is a semblance of both.
Affect of Hindu marriage act on Hindu marriage
Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 has reformed Hindu law of Marriage. It is a landmark in the history of social legislation. It has not simply codified the Hindu law of marriage but has introduced certain important changes in many respects. The Hindu marriage contemplated by the Act hardly remains sacramental. The Act has brought in some changes of far reaching consequences which have undermined the sacramental nature of marriage and rendered it contractual in nature to a great extent.