Hindu law does not recognize the legal right of a concubine to claim maintenance. A concubine is a woman who cohabits with a man to whom she is not legally married. Simply put, we are talking about a mistress. A concubine is usually given an inferior position in the Indian society as compared to a legally wedded wife. In Hindu law, such a woman is termed as ‘Avarudha Stri.’ In earlier times, it was believed that such a woman should live in the family home of her paramour.
Getting a divorce in India is certainly not an easy procedure, whether you follow Hindu marriage law or special marriage law. The whole procedure includes many emotional highs and lows and long waits for the final outcome. Before going ahead with the divorce procedure, prepare yourself for the long process ahead.
Did you know that when customs clash with laws, it is customs that take precedence in many cases, especially in an Indian marriage? Yes, it’s true that under Hindu, customs play a vital role, particularly in marriage and matters pertaining to divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955. Various sections of the Act have references to customs that help in saving marriages.
Even though the practice of child marriage is decreasing slowly, its prevalence continues to subsist in India. The practice is highest in the eastern and central regions of the nation. Besides, rural, poor and uneducated girls for all over the nation continue to be highly vulnerable to child marriage. According to a 2009 UNICEF report, ‘State of the World’s Children’, 47% of Indian women between the age of 20 and 24 were married before attaining the legal age of 18. Of this, 56% belonged to the rural areas. The report also stated an alarming fact that 40% of the total child marriages cases in the world occur in India.
After the Vedas, the most important source of Hindu law is the Smriti. When translated into English, the word “Smriti” means ‘that which is remembered.” The Smritis represent what was heard as God’s revelation by the sages which was later shared by these sages in their own words.
In a Hindu marriage, a decree for divorce can be sought based on specific grounds such as adultery, polygamy, renunciation, conversion by a spouse and so on. However, many legal problems are not just about Hindu divorce law. There are so many legal questions about adoption, maintenance and inheritance that Hindu individuals or families face often.
A Hindu marriage is considered as a sacrament, one that is solemnized by the chanting of sacred mantras and the ceremony of the saptapadi, which means taking seven steps together around the sacrificial fire. The concept of divorce is not part of traditional Hindu perspective on marriage but nevertheless, divorce is attainable under Hindu law.
Beliefs govern the way marriages are solemnized under Hindu customs that are followed across regions. However, Hindu law makes it simpler to understand what ceremonies are vital and what happens in case a spouse converts to another religion.
Dating back to the period of the Rig Veda, marriage has been revered as a 'samskara' or sacrament. Eight different forms of marriage were recognized in Hindu law at that time but only four were considered as approved forms of marriage.