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. This article will guide you and describe the court marriage procedure in India.
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.
What are the conditions required to be fulfilled before proceeding with Court Marriage?
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: –
- No party should have a subsisting valid marriage with any other person.
- The age of the bride should be 18 years and the groom should be 21 years.
- They should be of sound mind and able to give their valid consent for marriage.
- They should not be unfit for marriage or procreation of children.
- Both the parties should not, by any means, fall in the degrees of prohibited relationship as provided in Schedule I of the Act unless it is held valid in the customs or traditions of the religion of any of the two parties.
What are the Court Marriage procedure?
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.
Publication of 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.
No objection to the Marriage
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.
Remedy for the couple, if objection is filed
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.
Solemnization of 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.
What are the necessary documents required for Court Marriage?
- Application Form for Marriage in prescribed format along with specified fees
- Passport size Photos of Bride and Bridegroom
- Residential proof of the parties to the marriage
- Proof of Date of Birth of both the parties
- Address Proof and PAN Card of all the 3 witnesses
- Death Certificate/Divorcee (optional)- in case either of the parties had former marriage history
What are the documents required for ‘Registration of Marriage’?
- Signed Application form for registration by both the parties
- Passport sized photos of both & 1 marriage photograph
- Proof of Date of Birth by the married parties
- Proof of Residence as per the specified list of acceptable documents
- Proof of Marriage – Certificate from a priest who solemnized the marriage
- Proof of conversion, if any of the two parties is a convert (certificate from a priest)
- Affidavit by both the parties declaring the truthfulness about their aforementioned particulars
- Affirmation that both parties are not related to each other within the specified prohibited relationships
- Copy of divorce decree/ death certificate of deceased former spouse, as applicable
Is a lawyer required for 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.
Is irt possible to Court Marriage if other party is a foreign national?
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:
- Copy of Passport of both the parties to the marriage and their valid visa
- Proof of stay in the concerned district in preceding 30 days or report from the concerned SHO
- NOC or Marital Status Certificate from the concerned embassy or consulate in India by the party’s foreign partner, if any