Legal Guide

Know All About Family Laws in India

by Bhavya Choudhary · 4 min read

Family Laws In India-min

Introduction

  • The legal system of India is highly complicated. This comprises laws and regulations, as well as conventions, practices, and usages. The majority of the Indian legal system is composed of civil law, criminal law, and religious law.
  • Family Law in India refers to the comprehensive range of regulations that govern family concerns such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and so on. When one grants legal validity to the status of interpersonal interactions, some legally enforceable rights and obligations develop.

There are five types of Family Law in India.

  • Hindu law– Hindu law, is the oldest and most widely used family law in India. It is based on Hindu holy scriptures such as the Vedas, Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Manusmriti.
  • Muslim law- The Quran and Hadith are the foundations of Muslim law in India.
  • Christian law- The Bible is the foundation of Christian family law in India.
  • Parsi law- The Parsee legal system is founded on Zoroastrian texts.
  • Special Marriage Act, 1954

Hindu family law in India

  • Hindu family law in India is one of the world’s oldest legal systems. It still has a significant role in determining family law in India. Because Hindu law is founded on religious writings, it might be interpreted differently by various people. 
  • As a result, changing or modernizing Hindu law can be difficult. However, Hindu family law in India can be modified to meet the demands of various households.
  • The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 applied to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains. The legislation allows a husband to divorce his wife for adultery, cruelty, desertion, or conversion to another faith, and vice versa.

Divorce and Maintenance under Hindu Family Law in India

  • Divorce is the process of dissolving a marriage. If a couple or one of the parties believes that their marriage has ended due to desertion, adultery, bigamy, or other causes stated in the Act, they may take legal consultation from a divorce lawyer and file for divorce.
  • A husband or wife may seek divorce on defined grounds if either spouse has a mental disorder, sexually transmitted disease, or leprosy. 
  • A wife may also seek divorce if her spouse remarries after their first marriage or engages in rape, sodomy, or bestiality. A freshly married couple, on the other hand, cannot divorce during the first year of their marriage.
  • The woman has an absolute right to seek maintenance from her husband under Hindu family law in India. However, if she deviates from the path of chastity, she forfeits her right.

Muslim Family Law in India

  • Islamic law is a source of family law in India. Islamic law, often known as Shariat law, is founded on Islamic principles. Marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody are all discussed in Islam.
  • In 1937, the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act was passed. The Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act of 1939 allows a wife to seek divorce from her husband if, among other things, he hasn’t been seen in four years, hasn’t taken care of her for two years, has been sentenced to prison for more than seven years, or hasn’t performed his marital obligations for three years.

Marriage Dissolution under Muslim Family Law in India

  • A Muslim man may divorce his wife without stating any cause. He can say ‘talaq’ three times to indicate his intention to divorce his wife. 
  • He may, however, be divorced by Ila and Zohar, which differ only in form and not in content from talaq. However, the Supreme Court of India determined in 2017 that the triple talaq process was unlawful and invalid.
  • In terms of maintenance, a woman who refuses to reside with her husband due to bigamy or polygamy is not entitled to it.

Christian Family Law in India

  • The Christian Divorce Act of 1869 established family law in India for Christians. A Christian husband might divorce his wife for adultery as a result of this behavior. 
  • If her spouse has committed adultery, she has the right to divorce him. The Indian Divorce Act was passed in 1869 and applied to all Indian people, regardless of religion. 
  • A husband might divorce his wife under this statute for adultery, abuse, desertion, or conversion to another faith. Similarly, the wife might divorce her husband for infidelity, abuse, or desertion.

Parsi Family law in India

  • The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936 acknowledged the wife’s right to maintenance in the form of both alimony pendente lite and permanent alimony. 
  • The greatest amount that a judge can order as alimony while a marital dispute is underway is one-fifth of the husband’s net income. 
  • The court will evaluate what is just in determining the level of permanent maintenance, taking into account the husband’s ability to pay, the wife’s own assets, and the parties’ behavior. The injunction shall be enforced as long as the wife is chaste and unmarried.

Special Marriage Act, 1954

  • Although many people regard marriage as a very religious and ceremonious occasion, other people opt to marry in a fashion that is not regulated by religious regulations. 
  • This is especially true in inter-caste or inter-religious weddings when it is more convenient to keep one’s faith and marry legally rather than convert for the sake of a legally legitimate marriage under religion-based statutes. 
  • Marriage is considered a civil contract under the Special Marriage Act, and if a couple or one of the parties believes that their marriage has ended, they may take legal consultation from a divorce lawyer and file for divorce.
  • The fundamental motivation for enacting the Special Marriage Act of 1954 was to establish a special form of marriage for the people of India and all Indian citizens living abroad, regardless of religion or faith practiced by either side.

We hope this blog has helped you understand various family laws in India.

Conclusion

In India, marital laws, comprising rules on marriage, divorce, and other related matters, are primarily regulated by the personal laws of the parties, which are codified by legislation in most cases. When it comes to family law in India, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each circumstance is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits.

Understanding Family Law in India is a complex task, and one must take help from a professional lawyer for speedy disposal of disputes.

Bhavya Choudhary

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Bhavya Choudhary

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