Court marriages have been legalized and solemnized under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Any two persons can do court marriage irrespective of their caste, religion, nationality or creed. Even persons from same religion may undergo a court marriage avoiding rituals and ceremonies. In fact, the procedure of the Court marriages evades the necessities of rituals and ceremonies of the traditional marriages. However, court marriage involves several legal formalities and procedures. Therefore, it is advisable for parties to take consulting services from lawyers having expertise in family laws. People intending to opt for a court marriage may take court marriage services by MyAdvo.
Concept of Marriage
Marriage is like a social contract made in consonance with the law, wherein a person of two opposite sexes reciprocally engage to live jointly with each other as husband and wife. The law of marriage is based on the customs and therefore differs from religion to religion. For instance, Marriage between two Hindu is governed by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. However, a marriage between two individuals or persons belonging to a different nationality, religious, caste or creed in India, are governed by the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Marriage i.e. union of a man and a woman may be done by performing the respective customs and rituals (depending on caste or religion) or by Court marriage.
Pre-conditions for court marriage
- There must not be the existing legal wedding of either of the parties at the time of court marriage.
- The valid age for marriage must be attained by the parties i.e. twenty years (21) for male and eighteen (18) years for female.
- The parties must be sound
- The parties must not come within the degree of prohibited relationship.
Procedures involved in Court Marriage
The parties to the marriage must approach to the Marriage Registrar for registration of marriage and grant of certificate of marriage. You may see the procedures (step by step) as follow:
- Notice of Intended Marriage: The parties to the marriage must give notice of intended marriage to marriage registrar. For registration of marriage, one of the parties must have resided for at least 30 days immediately before the date when notice is served. The standard format of notice and other requirements have been provided in Schedule II of the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
- Publication of Notice: The marriage publishes the above-mentioned notice given to him by the parties.
- Objections to Marriage: The objection can be made by any person before marriage registrar on grounds mentioned in Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Such objections are examined by marriage registrar within 30 days and if found true, marriage cannot be solemnized. However, an appeal to such refusal can be filed within 30 days in the district court.
- The signing of the Declaration: The parties to a marriage and three witnesses are required to sign the declaration form as provided in Schedule III of the Act.
- Certificate of Marriage: Marriage certificate is issued after such formalities in the format as given in Schedule IV of the Act.
- New notice: In case the marriage has not been solemnized within three calendar months from the date of notice or where an appeal was filed, within three months of the decision of the appeal, the notice shall lapse. The parties to a marriage have to apply for marriage from the beginning again.
Why parties to a marriage should consult a lawyer in case of court marriage?
- Lawyers are the social engineers and they are familiar with every department and formalities of court. Therefore it is suggested not to approach a court for any purpose without consulting any lawyer.
- Court marriage involves several legal formalities as well as a systematic approach, which parties to the marriage (who are unknown to these formalities) should follow. Therefore, consulting a lawyer who is having expertise in family laws would help to avoid errors during court marriage.
- The procedures of court marriage (as explained above) involve certain deadline and strict adherence. For instances, a notice of intended marriage, reply to objection and most importantly marriage should be solemnized within three calendar months from the date of notice in case of no objection, etc. Therefore consulting a lawyer would help parties to have proper knowledge of all procedures.
- Section 9 of the Act provides marriage registrar similar powers as civil court. In case of any objection, marriage registrar would conduct proceedings and decide the truthfulness of objection accordingly. Therefore, it is advisable for parties to the marriage to consult a lawyer as lawyers know well about the potential evidence and further how to argue and invalidate the objection.
- In case of appeal (when the marriage registrar accepted the objection and rejected the application of court marriage), the role of a lawyer is very crucial as the matter would be heard in district court. Parties to marriage would feel the need of a lawyer at every step i.e. from the notice of intended marriage till the registration of marriage.
Thus, the presence of a lawyer or consultation with the lawyer would help to ease these procedures for parties to a marriage.