15 Most Important Changes that were brought about by the Hindu Marriage Act 1955

(1) The Act has declared that marriages amongst Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, are valid Hindu marriages in the eyes of the law. (See Section 2.)

(2) The Act has abolished the divergence between the Mitakshara and the Dayabhaga Schools in connection with the prohibited degrees of relationship for the purposes of a Hindu marriage. (See Section 3.)

(3) The Act also introduces monogamy for the first time amongst the Hindus, and provides for punishment for bigamy under the Indian Penal Code. (See Sections 5 and 17.)

(4) The Act abolishes the distinction between the marriage of a maiden and that of a widow.

(5) The Act also prescribes the minimum age for marriage, being 21 in the case of a boy, and 18 in the case of a girl. (See Section 5.) Ancient Hindu law did not prescribe any such age for marriage.

(6) The Act does not specifically recognise any particular form of the eight ancient forms of Hindu marriage. Rather, it merely lays down conditions of a valid Hindu marriage. (See Section 5.)

(7) The Act does not prescribe any particular ceremony for a valid Hindu marriage. It only provides that such a marriage can be solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of any one of the parties to the marriage. (See Sections 5 and 7.)

(8) The Act provides, for the first time, for the registration of Hindu marriages. (See Section 8.)

(9) The Act also contains provisions for restitution of conjugal rights of the parties to a marriage. (See Section 9.)

(10) The Act also lays down grounds on which a judicial separation can be decreed by the Court. (See Section 10.)

(11) The Act lays down the grounds on which a divorce can be obtained by any of the parties to Hindu marriage. Further, the concept of divorce by mutual consent has also been introduced in the Act. (See sections 13, 13B and 14.)

(12) The Act also makes a provision for re-marriage, inasmuch as it provides that after a valid divorce, either party may marry again. (See Section 15.)’

(13) The Act also provides for maintenance pendente life and for expenses of legal proceedings. (See Section 24.)

(14) The Act also provides for permanent alimony and maintenance. (See Section 25.)

(15) The Act also makes provisions for the custody of children during the pendency of legal proceedings, as also after the passing of a decree. (See Section 26.)

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