Court Marriage in India is a very popular alternative for couples who want to keep their marriage affair simple and economical or with inter-religion/inter-caste background. It also acts as a sanctuary for couples going against the wishes of their family members. Unlike traditional marriage where numerous rituals and customs are followed, Court marriage is fairly a simple procedure, performed before a marriage registrar and few witnesses.
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 has laid down the concept of Court Marriage. It provides for marriage between couples belonging to different religion, caste or creed or nationality, by way of civil ceremony. It also solemnizes and registers a marriage, at the same time.
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 has laid down certain conditions that parties have to meet before mutually entering or signing the Civil Marriage Contract. These conditions are as follows: –
Filing Application or Notice of Intended Marriage
The parties need to file a notice/application in writing in the prescribed format provided in Schedule II of the Special Marriage Act.
The notice has to be submitted to the Marriage Registrar of the district in which any one of the parties has resided for at least 30 days preceding from the date of serving the mentioned notice.
After the notice has been filled, The Marriage Officer of the district to whom the notice has been served shall publish the notice.
The notice shall be published at a conspicuous place in the office and one copy in the office of the district where (if) the other party permanently resides.
Any person can raise an objection to the marriage to the Marriage Officer of the district on the specified conditions as mentioned in Chapter II, Section 4 of the Act. If the Marriage Officer receives any objection within the 30 days from the date of publication of the notice, the marriage cannot be solemnized.
Either of the party to the marriage can file an appeal at the District Court within the local limits of the district under the jurisdiction of Marriage Officer within 30 days from the date of the refusal to solemnize the marriage.
If no objection is received before the expiry of 30 days, the marriage will be solemnized at the Specified Marriage Office. The parties to the marriage must be present at the office along with 3 witnesses at the Office on the given date of Registration/Solemnization.
The Marriage Certificate is issued by the officer in the specified format which has to be signed by both the parties and 3 witnesses. It is the conclusive evidence of the Court Marriage.
It is not mandatory but yes, a lawyer will be helpful in resolving any legal issues and guide you in filling or submitting the documents/formats involved in the procedure mentioned above. Also, if there is any apprehension of objection, hiring a family lawyer would be a wise move as one can help in filing appeals or fighting your case in the court on valid legal points.
If one party is of foreign national, then also marriage may be solemnized before the Marriage Registrar in India or Marriage Officer in a foreign country.
There are certain additional documents are needed: