Question: What legal implications does the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 hold for marriages involving individuals with mental incapacity in India?


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Mental capacity refers to the state of mind where a person has the capacity to understand one’s affairs, obligations and implications involved in a marriage. In common parlance, a person of unsound mind, a person having any mental disorder or an insane person is considered mentally incapable in India.


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Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 lays down conditions for a valid Hindu marriage. The second condition of this provision provides three parameters, one of which should be possessed by neither of the parties at the time of their marriage. They are:

1. Parties being restricted by unsoundness of mind to provide a valid consent; or

2. Parties are capable of providing valid consent but are suffering from mental disorders which can prohibit them from living a healthy married life, and affect children appropreation; or

3. Parties are subjected to frequent insanity attacks.

Section 5(ii) reads with Section 12(1)(b) of the Act of 1955 reveals that if the above mentioned conditions of Section 5 is contravened, then such marriages being subjected to Section 12, will be declared as voidable by nature. 

Further, suffering from unsoundness of mind and any kind of mental disorder has also been made a ground for divorce under Section 13(1)(iii) of the Act.



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