Marriage is a sacred institution for Hindus and it is the very foundation of a stable family and civilized society. There are, however, certain prerequisites and conditions for a valid marriage. All personal laws lay down certain conditions which need to be complied with to enter into or solemnize a legal marriage. Under the Hindu Law, the concept of marriage has undergone various changes after the codified laws. Under the uncodified Hindu Law, the conditions for entering into a valid marriage were mostly in the nature of recommendatory and not mandatory and also the child marriages were very much prevalent at that point of time. The Mithakshara Joint Family was purely patriarchal, because of which, there were so many discriminations against women in almost all the personal matters. Only a seniormost male member of the family can be a Karta, i.e., Head of the family. No female member can act as Karta which means she was given only the household activities.
All powerful positions like Administration and Decision-making were held only by the male members of the family. Property right was also denied to female members of the family. They were eligible to get maintenance only. But after the emergence of codified laws, there are radical changes effected in the personal matters like marriage, property rights, adoption, guardianship and maintenance. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is a landmark in the history of social legislation . This Act contains elaborate provisions on the conditions for a valid marriage, matrimonial reliefs, jurisdiction and procedure, maintenance and custody of children. This article is going to highlight the conditions for a valid marriage and the consequences for violation of those conditions under various personal laws of India.