IntroductionMarriage is a socially/rituallyorganized union between the spouses which establishes rights and obligations.Though the definition of marriage varies around the world between cultures ,religions , history , the basic concept/principle remains the same. Theinstitution of marriage has been constantly evolving. It has gone through manychanges and has been redefined indifferent cultures and religions. There are many factors contributing to thissuch as economic factors, changing gender roles, post modernization, legalsystem, society.
Marriage has both legal as well as religious significance. Many see marriage asbeing conferred holy orders on by God especially the Christians , as it is rooted after God’screation of the very first couple according to Bible Adam and Eve. While some other grouphave a different definition of marriage.
To them it seem as a religiouscommitment of two people to each other who are living together with a vow till’ death to us apart ‘ but if the relationship/marriage gets toxic theyseparate. Now in the recent times the law says that the spouse must not benecessary of the opposite gender. And for some it is an absolute secularinstitution which means that it has no religious significance. Differentcultures and religions have a different set of rituals for marriage whichhas indeed a special meaning. Evolution Of Marriage And ItsChanging Trends Marriage as a pair bounding started inthe stone age. Then, it was a way of organizing and a tool for controllingsexual conduct and a way of providing a stable structure for child rearing .
Inthe ancient times, marriage was used as a primary mean to preserve power. The kingand the ruling class married their daughters to form strong alliances to gainmore power and second most importantreason was to produce a heir. The very first evidence evidence of marriage inthe ancient time was found in Mesopotamia according to the historians.Later on during the 5thcentury when the church grew strong and acquired power , it declared marriageas a holy institution. As the power of the church grew alongside grew its holdover the institution of marriage.
The church even declared marriage as its oneof the seven sacrament. And after a few years in the 16th century itsaid the marriages are to be performed in the public by a priest and in frontof some witnesses. This evolution was mostly a part of the Europe.
Couples in marriage are of different types andeven have evolved during the course of time in many decades. Most couple around the world are of one maleand one female. But there exist other forms as well such as :-* same gender marriage – this type is not allowed in all thecountries. Though some countries have declared to be legal some of them are yetto do so.* Polygamous type of marriage i.
e having more than one mate (which isrelatively rare)* group marriages i.e any gendercombination of more than 2 people * Polygynous type of marriage i.e oneman many women * polyandrous type of Marriage i.e one woman many men (a very rare case)Most couples were of the same race inthe earlier times but during the course of time it has changed mostly since thecivil war. Some of the couples are of same religion and other are inter-faithwhich is also a recent trend compared to the earlier times.
Even the supremecourt has declared it to be legal. There are some couples who prefer livingtogether without any kind of ceremony or a license and on the other hand thereas couples who prefer getting legally married .The changing trends in the marriage thechanging times have lead to emerging of various other concepts such as :a) living together – which is an informalrelation which may or may not be permanent ; b) common law marriage- it refers to livingtogether with an intention to form a permanent union; c) a legally recognized marriage- it is aregistered marriage government ChangeIn Age In the course of time the age ofmarriage has evolved along with the other traditions.As the child marriage hasended the age of marriage has increased for the urban as well as people in therural and tribal society.
The Stability In the earlier society divorce was notso easily available. It was considered out of tradition and was not permittedin certain religions especially in Hindus. But as divorce is now available toall, the stability of marriage gas declined.TheAim Earlier in the society the main of marriagewas Dharma. But gradually over the course of time it has change, now Dharma isleast of the concern in the list of mains of marriage.Laws And Customs Of Marriage In India The laws relating to marriage differfrom religion to religion.
Under the Hindu marriage act all hindus of any casteor creed, Sikh, Buddists and Jains for all legal purpose are considered asHindus. By special marriage act a Hindu may marry a person from other religion by any ceremonyprovided fulfilling all the legal conditions , bt according to the section 7 ofthe Hindu marriage act a Hindu marriage is complete and enforceable after the seven steps of the Saptapadi ritual, inpresence of fire, by the bride and the groom, though some south Indianmarriages are an exception.In the learning of the hindu marriagethe vedas , scriptures and the Puranas give a brief knowledge about the customsand the rituals. It includes the literature and knowledge of an ideal humanbehavior serving a definite purpose of ancient history. Gradually over a periodtime the literature text were depicted in different forms by various peopleresulting in conflicts among people with different beliefs.
In order to undoand rectify this laws were made to prevail demolished such as sati system ,dowry, child marriage and domestic violence. These modifications did not occurat once but in the gradual course oftime. Sati In India where women are worshiped asGod in forms of God Laxmi, Saravasti, Durga, women still suffer under the cruellaws and customs of the society. Satiis an ancient practice carried by the hindus in which the widow were burnt herself on the funeral pyre of herhusband forcefully or voluntarily. The act was enforced to protect the womenand stop the practice.
The sati ritual involved 3 staged- first the burning ofthe widow; second the glorification; and lastly the culmination with theestablishment of a temple which was dedicated to sati. According to this act anybody attemptedto commit sati even play a role even as a sighteers is a punishable act and isentitled with life imprisonment and fine. Child Marriage The Child marriage issue in Indiais deep as it has its root intraditional , cultural and religiouspractices. Not to forget that the problem of child marriage bring along with itthe problem of dowry and child widowhood and is also associated with theproblem of malnutrition, poor health especially of the mothers. The act firstcame in the year 1929. This act prohibited child marriage, particularly boysbefore 18 and girls before 14.But according to the latest amendment the agelimit for boys was extended to 21 and for girls it was 18.WidowRemarriage Earlier in the society widow were notallowed to remarry especially among the upper caste.
Though after the satiprohibition act the widows were safe from the hands of death but they werestill exposed to existence in the year 1856.TheSpecial Marriage As we all know India follows a rigidsystem for marriage, there are certain rules that need to be followed. Peoplewho do not abide by the rules were shunned by the society. Therefore a law protectingsuch people who marriage going against those rule and marriage out of their caste.Theact was first enacted in the year 1872 but it was replaced by a new act in theyear 1954 with major 3 objectives. First, to provide a special kind of marriage for certain typesof cases; second, registration of those certain kinds of marriage; and third,to provide divorce. The act has one major criteria to be fulfilled that themarriage should not be violating any law.DowryIn Indian marriages the bride’s familygives dowry in forms of gifts to the grooms family along with the bride whichincludes cash , jewellery, furniture, crockery, real or movable property andother item that the grooms family demand as a condition of marriage.
Sometimesit exposes women to abuse in emotional and physical terms and even lead tomurder of brides. The act makes taking or even giving dowry an illegal actwhich is subjected to prosecution under section 304B and 498A of the IPC. Thereare cases where dowry is used as leverage to extract more from the bride’sfamily. Dowry leads to a number of crimes against women and is a major reasonfor violence against women. India hasthe highest number of dowry related cases in the world. Dowry leads to crime such as:-a) The crime Cruelty-to order to force the bride and extract more property or money from her familyshe is tortured and harassed in forms of verbal attacks or even beating her.
b) Abetment to suicide-all the violence and harassment by the husband and the family leading toemotional trauma, depression, women find ending their life an easy often.c) Domestic violence-women are often subjected to violence inphysical, economic and sexual term. There are laws protecting women against it(the domestic violence act 2005).d) Dowry murder-all the violence and threats by the husband and the family lead to dowry murderor dowry deaths of the bride. It is the result the domestic abuse. Brideburning is found as a cause most oftenly by the police with a cover up story ofsuicide attempt or accident. Apart from this there are other instances such asacid attacks, poisoning and many more.Same sex marriagesAssaid earlier marriage have been at constant change and re evolving and so hasthe laws governing them.
Same sex marriage or say gay marriages gave alwaysbeen a very controversial issue in the society and a very divisive politicalissue . The media and the society has always oppressed them to the best oftheir ability. In some countries like India gay marriage is still consideredillegal, whereas countries like USA, France, Mexico, Norway, Denmark havefinally recognized their rights. The very first law giving same sex marriage alegal status was Netherland.
Even as many people opposes the idea of same sexmarriage as for them it is against the nature , they seem to have no validreason against it. The right to equality has been established and is protectedby the constitution, and the right to marriage is also our legal right. Eventhough the section of gay people are in minority they still have the right andshould be able to exercise it as the majority.
Aswe see the history in the time of early civilization like Mesopotamia andancient Egypt , same sex marriage was not considered as a taboo and as seen inmany cultures it was even encouraged. It was during the time of the rise ofChristianity that a negative attitude towards same sex marriage was introducedand people still struggle under that.Divorce As A Law And AN Option Divorceis a termination of marriage.
In the earlier society divorce was not availableto people as an easy option and was rather considered as a sin especially inthe Hindu religion and among Muslims only men has the option to divorce hiswife and the wife did not had any say in it. In countries like India divorceneeds a legal sanction so as marriage. Divorce along with it brings other issuessuch as child custody, distribution of property and division of debt.Todayas the trends have changed, there has grown different forms of divorceavailable by the law:-a) InContested divorce both the parties are represented by lawyers who representtheir issued in the trail in front of the judges.b) InAt fault divorce one party has to prove that the other party is at fault.c) InSummary divorce both the parties agreeto the requirements and the key issues of the agreement of the divorce.d) In Uncontested divorce both the parties come to an agreement on theissues such as property, children and support.e) In Collaborative divorce the attorneys of boththe parties negotiate on the behalf of the partied they represent and come toan agreement.f) Thelatest and most modern type of divorce -people in today’s life style are sobusy that they do not want to bother themselves by going to the court and goingthrough all the proceeding thereby in some countries like Portugal it isallowed to file an electronic request for no fault collaborating divorce whichis known as electronic divorce.