For Saurabh. V;
Who is Hindu for the purpose of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955?
As part of the Hindu Code Bill, the Hindu Marriage Act was enacted by parliament in 1955. It is an Act to amend and codify the marriage law among Hindus. Its purpose was to regulate personal life among Hindus, especially their institution of marriage, its validity, conditions for in-validity, and applicability.
The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India defines the qualities of a Hindu in the ruling of the case, ref.: Bramchari Sidheswar Shai and others Vs. State of West Bengal [1995 AIR 2089, 1995 SCC (4) 646]. The full text of the ruling is annexed here. The case was regarding declaring Ramakrishna Mission as a non-Hindu, minority religion, under the Indian constitution.
So without further ado, here is the relevant portion of the proceedings, which defines the characteristics of a “Hindu”:
The Apex Court identifies seven defining characteristics of Hinduism and by extension "Hindus":
“1. Acceptance of the Vedas with reverence as the highest authority in religious and philosophic matters and acceptance with reverence of Vedas by Hindu thinkers and philosophers as the sole foundation of Hindu philosophy.
2. Spirit of tolerance and willingness to understand and appreciate the opponent’s point of view based on the realization that truth was many-sided.
3. Acceptance of great world rhythm, vast period of creation, maintenance and dissolution follow each other in endless succession, by all six systems of Hindu philosophy.
4. Acceptance by all systems of Hindu philosophy the belief in rebirth and pre-existence.
5. Recognition of the fact that the means or ways to salvation are many.
6. Realization of the truth that Gods to be worshipped may be large, yet there being Hindus who do not believe in the worshipping of idols.
7. Unlike other religions or religious creeds Hindu religion not being tied-down to any definite set of philosophic concepts, as such.”