chapter  2
92 Pages

- Divorce: Following the West?

Chapter 1 showed that modern Indian law continues to treat Hindu marriage ideologically and in practical terms as a sacramental union (samskara) at its inception, remaining at the same time aware of its inherent contractual elements with their manifold socio-Iegal consequences. Hand in hand with this, the modern law, as manifested in legislation and even the most recent decisions of the superior courts, has insisted that reliance on traditional patterns of marriage solemnisation, in all their confusing variety, remains the most efficient method of ascertaining the validity of any particular Hindu marriage. We saw, in other words, that the modern Indian state has declined jurisdiction and primary responsibility in this matter and has placed the onus of maintaining social cohesion and legal statuses in this regard on the people themselves. The courts, as chapter 1 showed, would only come into the picture if there were persisting doubts about the validity of a particular marriage, or if someone tried to abuse the confusing patterns of traditional diversity in this field for their own selfish means.