Court marriages are very different from traditional marriages as they are performed without any religious rituals and ceremonies. In a court marriage, two individuals of the legal age of marriage, belonging to any religion can voluntarily marry each other in front of a marriage officer and three witnesses. In this type of marriage, religious rituals and mantras are not required, only a marriage officer and three witnesses are sufficient to perform the rituals. The court marriage is governed by the Special Marriage Act, 1954. While on the other hand, the Arya Samaj Marriage process is completely different. Their ceremonies are conducted as per Vedic rituals and its statutory validation is obtained from the Arya Samaj Marriage Validation Act, 1937 and the Hindu Marriage Act. Unlike Hindu Marriages, apart from the rituals, the Arya Samaj marriages require certain documents as well. This adds on to the legal validity of the Arya Samaj Marriages.
Major Differences between Court Marriage and Arya Samaj Marriage
- Performance of Rituals
Arya SamajMarraiges involve performance of a host of vedic rituals. Various rituals involved include Madhuparkaa, yagna and Kanyadaan, Havan,PaniGrahanSanskar, etc. While in case of court marriages, no such religious rituals are performed. Court marriage is a form of a civil contract which is undertaken with the help of documents only.
- Inter-religion marriage
In case of non-Hindu couples, if they wish to perform Arya Samaj Marriages, they first have to undergo a process called Shuddhi in which they convert their religion into Hinduism to perform an Arya Samaj Marriage. But in case of court marriages no such requirement exists. Individuals of legal marriage age belonging to any religion can go for a court marriage. One Indian and one foreign national can also go for a court marriage and get their marriage registered. No rituals are required and there is no bar on religion. Even two Muslims can opt for a court marriage but to undergo an Arya Samaj marriage, they need to convert their religion.
- Marriage Certificate
If one gets married in an Arya SamajMandir, then the couple gets an Arya SamajMandir certificate but if the couple goes for a court marriage, it gets the certificate under the authority of the government of India. The marriage issued by the Arya SamajMandir has a limited validity as compared to a certificate issued by the Marriage registrar/officer. Arya Samaj Marriage certificate is not universally accepted. It cannot be used to apply for visas and work permits and in other legal domains. While on the other hand, marriage certificate obtained after a court marriage has a universal acceptance. It has an evidentiary value and is recognised even by foreign embassies.
- Registration of Marriage
A marriage gets registered after the court marriage and one need not undergo a separate registration process. After undergoing a court marriage, the couple gets a marriage certificate which has a universal validity. But on the other hand, the couple needs to undergo a separate registration process after undergoing an Arya Samaj Marriage. The Marriage certificate provided by the mandir does not have a legal validity and proper registration of marriage is required. Marriage registration is required for visa, work permit, insurance and other purposes. Even though the marriage remains valid even without registration but as per the 2006 judgment, Seema vs. Ashwani Kumar, SC held that it is mandatory for all couples to register their marriages. The Arya Samaj Marriage is only valid within India and is not internationally accepted. Therefore, it is important to get the marriage registered with the Sub-Divisional Magistrate. Even though, the marriage certificate provided by the Arya Samaj authorities is valid as per the Hindu laws but registration is mandatory as per the SC judgment.
- of witnesses
In order to undergo a court marriage 3 witnesses are required while on the other hand in case of an Arya Samaj Marriage only two witnesses are required to complete the process of marriage.
- Time taken
The complete marriage process in case of a court marriage can take around 30-60 days which includes giving an application of intention to get married. While in case of Arya Samaj marriage, it only takes around 2-4 hours to complete the marriage. Only pre-booking of Arya SamajMandir and submission of certain documents is required.
Procedure of marriage
The steps involved in a court marriage include-
- The parties have to give the notice of intention in the specified form to the marriage officer in the district in which atleast one of the parties have resided for atleast 30 days before giving the notice.
- The notice is then required to be published by the registrar inviting objections if any.
- On the expiry of 30 days, from the date of publication of notice, the marriage can be solemnised if no objections have been obtained.
- The solemnisation of the marriage can either be done at the office of the marriage officer or at a nearby place.
- Three witnesses are required to be present along with the couple on the date of solemnisation of marriage.
While on the other hand in case of Arya Samaj Marriages the steps involved includes booking of an Arya SamajMandir, submitting requisite documents, performance of rituals including kanyadaan, havan, satpadi, exchange of garlands and sweets etc, and obtaining a marriage certificate.
If one wants to opt for a marriage with religious rituals, then they should go for an Arya Samaj Marriage. But the couple should not forget to get their marriage registered. But if the couple wants to get married without the rituals and do not want to separately get their marriage registered, they should opt for a court marriage. The help of a lawyer ca be taken to ease down the cumbersome procedural process.