Conditions recognised by the Dharmasastras as Necessary for a Valid Hindu Marriage

The Shastric conditions mentioned in Yajnavalkya Smriti has been modified considerably by the Act of 1955.

Firstly, modifications have taken the form of dispensing with conditions prescribed by Yajnavalkya. According to Yajnavalkya:

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(1) The bride should be (Ananya Purvika).

So a widow marriage is not sanctioned. This condition is not specified in s. 5 of the Act of 1955. So there is now no prohibition of widow’s remarriage.

(2) The bride and the bridegroom should not be of the same gotra or Pravara. This condition also does not find a place in s. 5 except through the degrees of prohibited relationships.

Secondly the modification of the pre-existing law has been effected by laying down conditions not prescribed by Yajnavalkya. Thus:

1. At the Time of the Marriage, Neither Party:

(a) Is incapable of giving a valid consent, to it in conse­quence of unsoundness of mind; or

(b) Though capable of giving a valid consent, has been suffering from mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and the procreation of children; or

(c) Has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy;

2. The bridegroom should have completed 21 years of age and the bride 18 years at the time of the marriage.

3. Neither party should have a spouse living at the time of the marriage. This entails a prohibition of Polygamy not found in Yajnavalkya. Of course, it also forbids, Polyandry which was also hit by Yagnayalkya’s rule that the bride should be Ananya Purvika.

Thirdly the modifications have taken the form of relaxing the conditions prescribed by Yajnavalkya. Thus:-

The Act of 1955 as well as Yajnavalkya prohibits marriages between Sapindas. But according to Yajnavalkya, Sapinda relationship extend upto 7 degrees on the father’s side and 5 degrees on the mother’s side. The Act lowers these limits to 5 degrees on the father’s side and 3 degrees on the mother’s side.