AMENDMENT TO THE HINDU MARRIAGES ACT - INCORPORATION OF SECTION 7-A.

Changes proposed by Atheist Society of India, Pithani Dibba, Visakhapatnam 530 002 (Andhra Pradesh).

In view of the fact that secular marriages without any religious ceremony of the presence of a priest or invocation of "god" are becoming common among all progressive minded people in the country, especially in the States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and for the reason that such marriages are not legally recognised, there has been a demand for such an Act from different parts of the country.

Self respect or secular marriages are legally valid in Tamil Nadu. The Tamil Nadu government under the Chief Ministership of the then great rationalist leader Arignar Anna enacted "the Hindu Marriages (Madras Amendment) Act, 1967 and the same incorporated as section 7-A in the Hindu Marriage Act - i.e. in Central Act XXV of 1955.

Whereas in the other states and Union territories of the country there is no such progressive legislation.

It is proposed to demand for making necessary amendment to the Hindu Marriages Act 1955 by a special provision regarding Self-respect and Secular marriages. The proposed special provision (Section 7-A) is the same as the Tamil Nadu (Amendment) Act. Only the names: Suyamariyathai and Seerthiruththa" are replaced by "Self-Respect and Secular".

The desired amendment, if made by the Central Government would be much useful to all those who wanted freedom from the priestly bigotry, superstitions and traditions. It would benifit the Ambedkarites, Socialists and Communists and the rationalists all over the country. Since in the present situation Atheists and Buddhists too are considered to be hindus, we shall have some freedom to come out of its strangle-hold.

Hence, we request you to kindly go through the proposed Section 7-A (Amendment) to the Hindu Marriage Act and let us have your invaluable suggestions and approval in the matter. At present we feel it is enough for us to get Section 7-A incorporated instead of trying for a seperate Act in this matter.

As soon as your organisation agrees to the same we shall have to print our appeal and the draft section 7-A for distribution among some selected members of both the parliaments with a request to propose it as a private member (unofficial) Bill in the parliament.

Soon after having your endorsement we shall write to you again about our programme and seek your participation in our humble efforts in that direction.

We earnestly seek your kind cooperation in this matter.

Yours humanly,

Sd. Jaya Gopal,

General secretary.


HINDU MARRIAGE (AMENDMENT) ACT 1990.

An Act further to amend the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, in its application to whole of India excepting Jammu and Kashmir.

Whereas it is necessary to render valid Self-Respect or Secular Marriages,

AHD WHEREAS it is expedient further to amend the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 (Central Act XXV of 1955), in its application to whole of India, excepting Jammu and Kashmir, for the purposes herein after appearing;

Be it enacted by the Parliament in the Forty third year of the Republic of India as follows:

Short title and extent: 1. This act may be called the HINDU MARRIAGES (AMENDMENT) ACT, 1990.

2. It extends to the whole of India excepting Jammu and Kashmir

Insertion of new section 7-A Central Act XXV of 1995.

After section 7 of the Hindu Marriages Act 1955 (Central Act XXV of 1955), the following section shall be inserted, namely:

7-A Special provision regarding Self-Respect and Secular Marriages:

(1) This section shall apply to any marriage between any two Hindus whether called Self Respect marriage or Secular marriage or by any other name, solemnized in the presence of relatives, friends or other person:

(a) by each party to the marriage declaring in any language understood by the parties that each takes the other to be his wife, or as the case may be, her husband; or

(b) by each party to the marriage garlanding the other or putting a ring upon any finger or the other; or

(c) by the tying of the Thali or mangalsutra

(2) (a) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 7, but subject to the other provisions of this Act, all marriages to which this section applies solemnized after the commencement of the Hindu Marriage (Amendment) Act, 1990, shall be good and valid in law.

(b) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 7 or in any text, rule or interpretation of Hindu law or any custom or usage as part of that law in force immediately before the commencement of the Hindu Marriage (Amendment) Act, 1990 or in any other law in force immediately before such commencement or in any judgment, decree or order of any court, but subject to sub-section (3), all marriages to which this section applies solemnized at any time before such commencement shall be deemed to have been, with effect on and from the date of the solemnization of each such marriages respectively, good and valid in law.

(3) Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to:

(a) render valid any marriage referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (2), if before the commencement of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1990.

(i) Such marriage has been dissolved under any custom or law;

(ii) the woman who was a party to such marriage, has whether during or after the life of the other party thereto, lawfully married another; or

(b) render valid a marriage between any two Hindus solemnized at any time before such commencement if such marriage was valid at that time; or

(c) render valid a marriage between any two Hindus solemnized at any time before such commencement, if such marriage was invalid at that time on any ground other than that it was not solemnized in accordance with the customary rites and ceremonies of either party thereto:

Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any person liable to any punishment whatsoever by reason of anything done or omitted to be done by him before such commencement.

(4) Any child of the parties to a marriage referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (2) born of such marriage shall be deemed to be their legitimate child:

Provided that in a case falling under sub-clause (i) or sub-clause (ii) of clause (a) of sub-section (3), such child was begotten before the date of the dissolution of the marriage or, as the case may be, before the date of the second of the marriages referred to in the sub-clause (ii).


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Last update: 22 July 1998