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2001 Int'l Surv. Fam. L. 115 (2001)
Some Perspectives on Indian Family Law

handle is hein.journals/intsfal8 and id is 139 raw text is: 




                 Anil Malhotra* and Ranjit Malhotra

The present India chapter analyses three areas of Indian family law: validity of
marriages in the context of unmarried cohabitation under Hindu law; recent
developments in international child abduction law; and the law of guardianship
and inter-country adoption in India. The reason for focus on these select branches
of law is because these areas are of immense interest to an international legal
readership given the large size of the Indian population residing overseas.


The principal law of marriage and divorce relating to Hindus is contained in the
Hindu Marriage Act 1955 (hereafter HMA 1955), which came into force on 18
May 1955. The HMA 1955 also governs validity of marriages of those Indian
spouses who are permanently resident overseas. It is an Act to amend and codify
the law relating to marriage among Hindus. After outlining the main provisions of
the HMA 1955 they will be discussed in appropriate detail.

A    Main provisions of the HMA 1955

Section 1 states the territorial application of the HMA 1955. In terms of section 2,
the Act is applicable only to Hindus. Section 5 of the HMA 1955 stipulates the
conditions for a valid Hindu marriage. Essential ceremonies for a Hindu marriage
are laid down in section 7 of the Act. Registration of marriages is dealt with in
section 8 of the Act. Sections 9 and 10 of the Act provide for restitution of
conjugal rights and judicial separation.
    Nullity of marriage and divorce are dealt with in detail in Chapter IV of the
HMA 1955. The grounds for divorce are detailed in section 13 of the Act. Divorce
by mutual consent is recognised under section 13-B of the Act.
    The issue of jurisdiction and the procedure for obtaining divorce is provided
in Chapter V of this Act. Provisions for maintenance pendente lite and permanent
alimony are made in sections 24 and 25 of the Act, respectively. It is important to
mention that section 29(2) of the Act recognises dissolution of marriage by

*   Advocate at the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court of India, New Delhi.
    Formerly part-time lecturer at the Faculty of Laws, Punjab University, Chandigarh.
** Advocate at the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Supreme Court of India. Regional
    representative for India of the migration and nationality law committee of the International Bar

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