This Act was established in year 1955 as an integral part of the Hindu Code Bills under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru. Three other important acts were also created during this time and they include the Hindu Succession Act (1956), the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act (1956), and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (1956). All of these acts were meant to modernize the then current Hindu legal tradition.

What was the purpose
Its purpose was to legalize personal life among Hindus, particularly their foundation of marriage, its strength, circumstances for invalidity, and applicability.

It applies to
The bill is viewed as conservative, but it also modern in the sense that it recognizes the modern offshoots of the Hindu religion (Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs) as specified in Article 44 of the Indian Constitution. According to Menski Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs are governed by one uniform Hindu law for the sake of reducing diversities within the Hindu personal law and to promote nation building. For instance, marriage between a Hindu and a Christian is invalid under the Hindu Marriage Act, as the Act provides for only Hindu couples to enter into wedlock, the Supreme Court has ruled as seen in Gullipilli Sowria Raj v. Bandaru Pavani

Hindu view of marriage
According to the tenets of Hinduism, marriage is a sacred relationship, a sacrament, and a divine covenant meant for procreation and the continuation of family lineage. In the traditional Hindu system of marriage, there is no role for the state as marriage remained a private affair within the social realm.Within this traditional framework reference, marriage is undoubtedly the most important transitional point in a Hindu’s life and the most important of all the Hindu samskaras, or life-cycle rituals.

Its Conditions
The conditions of marriage are specified in Section 5 as follows: the Act expressively prohibits polygamy by stipulating that a Hindu marriage can be solemnized between two Hindus if neither party has a living spouse at the time of marriage; the age of eligibility is fixed at 21 years of age for bridegrooms and 18 years of age for brides; and finally, the Act specifically prevents marriages between prohibited degrees of relationships.

About Guardianship
Section 6 of the Hindu Marriage Act lays specifies the guardianship for marriage. Wherever the consent of a guardian in marriage is necessary for a bride under this Act, the persons entitled to give such consent are the following: the father; the mother; the paternal grandfather; the paternal grandmother; the brother by full blood; the brother by half blood; etc.

Section 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act recognizes the ceremonies and customs of marriage are gay. Hindu marriage may be solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party. Such rites and rituals include the Saptapadi—the taking of seven steps by the bridegroom and the bride jointly before the sacred fire. The marriage becomes complete and binding when the seventh step is taken.

Section 8 indicates that there is a compulsory registration of any marriage and stipulates a punishment for violating this provision. In theory, it should be fairly simple to get a marriage registered under the Hindu Marriage Act (take a copy of the wedding card, proof of residence, or photos from the wedding); however, in reality, couples have to pay a broker’s fee to ensure a smooth passage and to ensure that the entire process gets done in a timely fashion. There have been numerous eyewitness accounts of clerks processing only forms that have been handled by a broker.

Divorce System
Divorce can be sought by husband or wife on certain grounds, including: adultery, cruelty, desertion for two years, religious conversion, mental abnormality, venerable disease, and leprosy. A wife can also present a petition for the dissolution of marriage on if the husband marries again after the commencement of his first marriage or if the husband has been guilty of rape, sodomy, or bestiality.

Newly married couples cannot file a petition for divorce within one years of marriage. However, there is a stigma attached to divorce and this is a big deterrent for its occurrence—divorced people find it difficult to be accepted among their friends and family and find new partners. Compared to marriages in the West, Hindu marriages have a greater stability—a great majority takes the responsibility of marriage seriously and do their part in promoting social and family values through their adherence to the ancient tradition.