Hinduism is one the oldest religion of Indian land and therefore its followers –‘ Hindus’ constitutes the majority of India. But still the constitution of India doesn’t mentions any specified definition of who are Hindus. However, there exists some legislations that were fabricated to govern only Hindus and their conduct. Thus, all those who mentioned to be governed according and under that legislation can said to be Hindus. One such legislation is Hindu Marriage Act,1955. This act was curated to keep in governance the marriages of Hindus according to their Hindu law and thus clearly mentions who all can come under its purview.
According to sec 2(3) of this act, the Hindu Marriage Act is applied even to those who are although not Hindu by religion but are a person of a religion that comes under this act by virtue of its provisions. Thus, it indicates that other than Hindus there are more people to whom the Hindu law applies. Section 2 sheds light upon this by clearly mentioning all who should be governed by Hindu law and according to it-
Hindu law applies to persons professing the religion of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism or Sikhism.
And it doesn’t apply to Muslims, Christians, Parsis or Jews. And except the folowers of these religions it applies to everyone, even to those who don’t follow any religion, i.e., atheists or to those who are believer of all faiths.
Also there are some people who are alienated from our society and these are called scheduled tribes and most of the times they are only governed by their customs. But with the provisions of sec 2(2) of Hindu Marriage Act, there are some scheduled tribes to whom Hindu law can be applied but only when Government of India by realising a notification in official gazette sets them under the purview.
Thus all people who are domicile of the territory to which this act extends are all Hindus except Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Jews and unmentioned schedule tribes. In P. Ramesh Kumar Vs. Secy. Kannapuram Gram Panchayat, a Hindu man who married a Japanese girl according to all necessary Hindu rites and customs of marriage was denied to make registration of his marriage because the Hindu law was not applicable to his Japanese wife according to HMA.
It is sure to be mentioned and understood that a child who is born through both Hindu parents will be considered as Hindu under law. But there are some circumstances where religions of a child becomes a questions for example in inter religion marriages. To clear this haze, section 2(1) of HMA mentions that – if a child is born to a couple where one parent is Hindu and the other belongs to any other religion who doesn’t fall under the purview of being Hindu, then if a child in his upbringing has been brought up as a Hindu, Jain, Buddhist or Sikh then he will be considered as Hindu and will follow Hindu law. In Maneka Gandhi Vs. Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi’s father was a Parsi but mother was Hindu. But when question of Sanjay Gandhi’s religion popped up, he was considered to be held as Hindu because he was openly brought up as Hindu by his mother.
Also, any person who converts himself/herself into Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism or Sikhism will also be considered Hindu and Hindu law will be applied on them after successful conversion.
Thus, despite the absence of a clear definition, Hindu Marriage act gives vivid clarity on people who are considered as Hindu by law in India.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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