It is said that the marriages are made in heaven. However, being an inalienable part of the society and to provide social stability, the institution of marriage is regulated as per the laws of the lands. These laws ensure that the marriages are conducted as per the acceptable norms of the times and by using the just and fair means. In countries of diverse faiths such as India, there are specific law relating to the different communities of the people. As per the Hindu Marriage Act, certain types of marriages, if these are held, can be declared to be null and void or voidable on certain grounds. These also pertain to the marriages held at the Arya Sama mandir.
A void marriage is like no marriage has taken place, in the eyes of the law. A marriage becomes void if it has been conducted against the following provisions:
- When either of the party has a living spouse at the time of the marriage; or
- The parties are marrying within the prohibited degree of relationship; or
- Parties are related with the sapinda relationship. It shall be noted that the lineage extending upto the third generation from the mother and the fifth generation from the father comes within Sapinda relationship. So, marriage between these two lineages extending to these defined levels is prohibited.
A voidable marriage is different from a void marriage. The former becomes void after a decree from a court of law to nullify the marriage. This decree is passed on one or more of these grounds:
- Respondent is not able to give valid consent due to unsoundness of mind.
- If the respondent is unfit for marriage or procreation of children due to mental disorder.
- Respondent get recurrent attacks of insanity.
- Consent of petitioner is obtained by force or fraud. Please note that ‘undue influence’ does not fall in this category.
- Respondent is pregnant by a person other than the petitioner.
The provisions of this act are applicable to people from Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist faiths. By having a clear understanding of which type of marriages are valid and which are void or voidable, a person can prevent getting into situations where law does not recognize this relationship. At the same time, the people or institutions who are in the practice or business of conducting marriages can guide the people willing to get married in a better way if they are aware of the provisions of this law.