Hindu Marriages in Temple

Marriage unites a man and a woman for ever.  The validity of a marriage is extremely crucial & vital. Various legal measures one should take before getting married in a temple.

Marrying in a temple has always been one way to get united for ever. A temple marriage is equally valid if the requirements of the law are fulfilled.

Laws governing the performance of Marriage in India

Marriages are governed by various personal laws such as:

1 The Hindu Marriage Act 1955

2 Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872

3 Special Marriage Act 1954

4 Hindu Marriage Act 1955

Thus, the first and the most important thing to determine before getting married is that which law applies to both the parties. As the temple marriages mostly include marriage between two Hindus or between a Hindu and a non-Hindu, therefore we will see the detail requirements under the The Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

Legal Requirements under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

Application of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 applies only to Hindus i.e. both parties need to fall under the definition of ‘Hindu’ given under Section 2 of the Act. According to this section, the Act applies to:

  • A person who is a Hindu by religion i.e. a Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain.
  • This includes such a person who has converted or reconverted into any of the above religions.
  • This also includes aVirashaivaa Lingayator a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj.[1]
  • A person who has been born to parents who are both Hindus or if either of them is a Hindu, then the child has been brought up as a Hindu.

It is not always easy to determine if a person falls in the above categories. Therefore, there is a negative definition too according to which the Hindu Law applies to:

  • A person who is not a Christian, Jew, Muslim or Parsi.

It is important to determine this because if a temple marriage is performed by a Hindu and a non-Hindu, then the marriage has no validity under the Hindu Law even if all the other requirements are fulfilled. Therefore, for a marriage between a Hindu and a non-Hindu to be valid, it has to be performed under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 .

Conditions for a Hindu Marriage

There are certain other conditions which need to be fulfilled according to Section 5 of the Act. These are:

  • Neither of the parties should have a spouse living at the time of marriage, otherwise, the marriage would fall under bigamous marriage.
  • Both the parties should be of sound mind.
  • The bride should be above 18 years and the bridegroom should be above 21 years.
  • The parties should not fall under the Sapinda relationships or the prohibited degree of relationships, as defined under the Act.

If these prerequisites are not fulfilled, the validity of the marriage is affected. However, these conditions are not peculiar to a temple marriage only and need to be fulfilled irrespective of the fact that whether the marriage is performed in a temple or elsewhere.


Legal Precautions under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (Court Marriage)

Under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 two types of provisions can be found.

  • The parties can get married under the Act, or
  • The parties can get their marriage registered under the Act even if the marriage was solemnized in some other way not provided in the Act.

The former is called ‘Court Marriage’ in common parlance. There are certain requirements and procedures that need to be followed to perform a marriage under this Act which includes giving notice of the intended marriage to the Marriage Officer, etc. Now, the marriage performed under the Special Marriage Act can be clubbed with temple marriage. That is to say, the parties are free to solemnize their marriage in any form[13] which may include marrying in a temple. However, in this case, the sole requirement is that the procedures under the Act must be followed, irrespective of the fact that the ceremonial rites are performed or not. Thus, even exchange of garlands along with all the procedures under the Act will lead to a valid marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

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