Marriage, divorce, custody and maintenance are mainly governed by the religion of the parties to the marriage. If both parties belong to the same religion, one of the following Acts would apply, only if the particular procedure as prescribed in that law is followed to make the marriage solemnised –
- if they are Christians, The Indian Divorce Act, 1869 and the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872;
- if they are Parsis, the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936;
- if they are Hindus, the Hindu code comprising the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, the Hindu Minority and Guardianship act, 1956, and the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. The term ‘Hindu’ in these Acts applies to Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains, or in other words, all those who are not Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew;
- if they are Muslims, the Muslim Personal law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 and the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.