Special Marriage Act

The Allahabad High Court recently ruled that couples planning to marry under Special Marriage Act shall choose not to publish thirty-day notice before registering their marriage. According to the judgement, the provisions of the act invade the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy. That is, putting a prior notice that provides the details of the bride and groom invades their privacy.

Special Marriage Act, 1954

It is an act that was enacted to provide special form of marriage in certain cases. This includes validating and registering interreligious and inter caste marriages. The three main objectives of Special Marriage act are as follows:

  • To provide registration for certain special marriages
  • To provide special form of marriage in certain cases
  • To provide divorce

Applicability of Special Marriage Act, 1954

The Special Marriage Act is applicable to:

  • Any person irrespective of his or her religion
  • All the Indians living abroad

Requirements under Special Marriage Act, 1954

The Special Marriage Act does not demand rites or ceremonies. Rather it is a civil contract. Both the parties signing the contract have to file a notice of intended marriage to the Marriage Registrar of the district. In this, one of the parties should have resided in the district for not less than thirty days. After thirty days of such notice and if the marriage is not objected by any person the marriage may be solemnized. Now, this formality of thirty-day notice has been cancelled by the Allahabad High Court under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

Conditions in Special Marriage Act, 1954

The conditions under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 are as follows:

  • The marriage should be monogamous for both the partners.
  • The bride should have attained the age of 18 years and the groom should be at least 21 years old.
  • Both the parties should be competent in regard to their mental capacity to give consent for the marriage.

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