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Can marriages in india be treated as contracts?

Dear All,

The moment we register a marriage, are we signing a contract? Can marriges in India be treated as a contracts and has to comply to the laws in the Indian Contract Act?

The moment we register or get married  (social) we sign unknowingly sign so many contracts the we (men) have to comply to the clauses in DV, 125 CrPC, 498a, DP Act etc etc..I will pay money in case there is a dispute..

We actually sign that, I will not treat the wife with cruelty (But my wife can), i will bear all her expenses (But she wont)..

Can the Indian Contract Act be applicable in case of marriage? or does the marrriage laws, in some way or the other, a SUBSET of the indian Contact Act or CAN BE MADE (BY PROPER ANALYSIS AND REASONING) to be a subset of the Indian Contract Act?

Please throw some light.





 34 Replies

akash kapoor (*************)     12 December 2011



Yeah, but if it is a contract, does it come (or can it be brought) under the umbrella of the Indian contract act? 

Aishwarya (Teacher)     12 December 2011

ummmm one may have it , if it is plausible .. 

And yes the post is amazing more expert advices to be sought here..

Vakeel Civil Court (Director)     12 December 2011

The hindu marriage has also been converted into a contract marriage either knowingly or un-knowling by the introduction of Sec 13 of HMA. i.e. provision for divorce and laying down grounds for divorce.


The traditional law states that hindu marriage is a sacrament i.e. made by god and dissolvable by god through DEATH of either of the spouse.


So, if marriage can be dissolved by courts than Hindu marriage is no longer sacremant but a contract. If any party to the contract of marriage is not happy with the relationship he may make up a case under the grounds mentioned in the Act and seek divorce.


Since now we admit the hindu marriage to be a contract (sec 13 HMA) it is not necessary that ICA to be applicable as its provisions are applicable indirectly through the HMA and principles of NJ.

Nadeem Qureshi (Advocate/ nadeemqureshi1@gmail.com)     12 December 2011

In hindu law the marriage is a sacrosanct & inviolable union, but also an eternal union.Derrett puts it succinctly,"the intention of the sacrament is to make the husband & wife one, physically & psychically, for secular & spritual purposes, for this life and for after lives.

in Hindus the marriage govern by Hindu marriage Act not govern by Indian contarct act.

1 Like

Shonee Kapoor (Legal Evangelist - TRIPAKSHA)     12 December 2011

It is not a contract, as there is no consideration.


A contract without any consideration is void.


Also, in all societies except Islam, marriages are meant to last for a lifetime or even more than a lifetime.


Not to take anything away from Islam, it was the first religion which allowed widow re-marriage and protected the rights of divorcee women. Also, it was the first religion which allowed inter-religion marriage. A muslim is allowed to marry another Muslim or a Kitabia (Those who go by a testament i.e. Jew-Christian), but not the fire-wroshiper or idol worshiper. The Quarnic law was most progressive in this regard. 





Shonee Kapoor


1 Like

Vakeel Civil Court (Director)     13 December 2011

The consideration need not be monetary consideration. The marriage mantras include promises on the side of the groom to pursue DHARMA, ARTHA, KAMA through the bride and bride inturn seeks protection, motherhood etc...


I admit that Hindu marriage is not a CONTRACT as in ICA, but my contention is  the introduction of HMA - sec 13 converted a sacrament into a glorified CONTRACT. It has also introduced MONOGAMY instead of polygamy. I guess the HMA is in tune with the present state of affairs in the society.


So, I feel its fair in considering hindu marriage also as a contract. 


You seem to be over-enlightened.


Everything in life cannot be treated as a contract. Tomorrow your sons and daughters would also expect you to treat their birth out of your marriage as a contract for making you liable to support them till life, since you made them to born. What would you like to say about that?

1 Like

Vakeel Civil Court (Director)     14 December 2011


Sri PS Dhingra sir,

One of the sacred purposes of marriage is to have children to continue the lineage. As parents it is our duty to bring up the children inculcating the values of sanatana dharma. This is the consideration for begetting children and fulfilling our part of duty in the contract ( in case you want to extend it to birth of children also).

I had restricted myself to calling hindu marriage post HMA - sec 13 as a contract, but if members want to carry it further so be it. 

Don't you think all relations in this material world have become contract? Quid pro Quo relations.


Agreed with Vakeel,

Everything in this world is a contract..people look for payback

My sweet 498A wife used to say "what have I got in return..I need returns" (Direct quote)...she used to say..."I have left my job for getting married..cos I shifted to some other place..what did you give me"..when she was never asked to quit her job...

I am sure..all of you will agree...even if "happily" married, husbands have to fulfill the demands of the wife..day after day...

Two of my friends have have quit their jobs and have shifted to the place where the wife lives and works in the home town of the wife...leaving there parents....friends who were very enthusiastic  in college have become morons after marriage, some have started drinking, others purposely come home at 10 PM...so that the the encounter with the wife is minimum...

The moment you complaint...the answer is..."You call me this..you call me that...I will go back to may parents place...I cant tolerate you...u are unbearable...."..etc etc...

Now what are these demands?? Every day there is a new demand and it is very very difficult to figure out what is coming the next day...the question everyday is what is that I have to give today? If I cant..there will be lot of heated arguement and allegations....

I feel it is high time for the parties time to become the promissor and the promisee...and let Husband and wife take a back seat...and think about the demands that would come in the future...and pen them down....and let both parties sign...


Aishwarya (Teacher)     14 December 2011

i stand by what gautam ji mentioned..

At any day men or women in relationships are just running around to "PLEASE" each other..

Gosh thats terrible,

there's hardly anything called as unconditional love.nowwie...seems we are blessed if we get it only from our dearest parents and the most dearest lil kids we see playin around everyday..

Dr. MPS RAMANI Ph.D.[Tech.] (Scientist/Engineer)     26 January 2012

Hindu and Catholic marriages are sacraments. They are marriages until death do them part. Muslim marriages are contracts though heavily siding with the male. The laws governing Muslim marriages are given in the Shariat.

Registration, enactment of marriage laws or provision for divorce in the laws does not make them contractual. Laws are externally enforced on the couple and there is no option not to abide by them even if both the couple agrees.  As I said Catholic marriages are sacraments. In the sixteenth century when Henry VIII of England wanted to divorce his wife, the Roman Catholic Church did not give permission. Then the king broke away from Rome and formed the Anglican Church with the Archbishop of Canterbury as the chief.

It is presumed that all marriages start with the sincere intention of the couple to stay together for life. No marriage agreement is signed with clauses for terms and conditions for divorce or looking after the children and such things. If a working woman says to her husband-to-be that she would stop working after marriage, but continues to work afterwards the marriage cannot be dissolved for breach of contract.

In Gujarat there was (probably it is still there) the practice of Maitry  Karar. It was a live-in-relationship with written agreement. They can be said to be contracts. But there was a hue and cry against that and nowadays  we do not hear about them.

bhima balla (none)     18 May 2012

Hindu marriage-sacrament, sacred, eternal, made in heaven -the delusion continues!

Tajobsindia (Senior Partner )     19 May 2012

1. Yes it is a contract. Though it is minority view.
2. But a scholarly “view” is there which is more important a material fact for discussion.
3. Want to discuss with me on this minority view then kindly raise your hands we will have straight legal discussion as knowledge sharing on this topic minus time pass peoples jumping in-between the discussion.


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