(Last Updated on : 16-04-2014)
The Special Marriage Act was endorsed to provide a special form of marriage for any individual in India and all Indian nationals in foreign countries without discriminating their the religion or faith pursued by either party to the marriage. The parties may survey any ceremonies for the solemnization of their marriage but some particular formalities are approved before the marriage officer and he can register the marriage. For the provision of the Indian citizens abroad, the act provides for the engagement of diplomatic and consular officers. The marriage officers solemnize and register marriages between citizens of India in a distant country. The Act is pertinent throughout the country except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Conditions for the Special Marriage Act
The Act mentions that a marriage between two persons can be legally recognized, if the following circumstances are satisfied at the time of marriage:
Neither of the two parties should have a spouse living at the time of marriage.
Neither of the two should be incapable of giving a suitable consent to the marriage due to unsoundness of mind.
Neither of the party should suffer from mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent that is unfit for marriages and the procreation of children.
Neither party should have been subjected to repeated attacks of epilepsy or insanity.
At the time of marriage the groom should attain the age of 21 years and the bride should be of 18 years of age.
Both the parties should not come within the degrees of prohibited relationship; provided that where a custom governing at least one of the parties permits of a marriage between them, such marriage may be solemnized, notwithstanding that they are within the degrees of prohibited relationship, and
Where the marriage is solemnized in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, both parties are citizens of India addressed in the territories to which this Act extends up to the following limitations -
The Prohibited Relationship includes relationship by half or uterine blood as well as by full blood; illegitimate blood relationship as well as legitimate; relationship by adoption as well as by blood and all terms of relationship in this Act shell be construed accordingly.
Notice of Intended Marriage
When a marriage is prepared to get solemnized under this Act, both the parties to the marriage shall give notice in written and in the form specified in the Second Schedule to the Marriage Officer of the district in which at least one of the parties involved in the marriage has come to the decision for a period of not less than 30 days immediately earlier than the date on which such notice is given.
Marriage Notice Book and Publication
The marriage Officer shall ensure to keep all notices provided under Section 5 with the records of his office and shall also immediately deliver a true copy of every such notice in a book arranged for that purpose. This book is called the Marriage Notice Book, and it shall be open for examination at all sensible times, without fee, by any person wishing for the inspection as well. The Marriage Officer shall give such notice to be published by affixing a copy and keep in some safe place in his office and before the expiration of 30 days from the date on which the notice was published any person can come up and object to the marriage that it would disobey any of the circumstances necessary for the marriage.
Where either of the parties move towards a planned marriage and is not permanently residing within the local limits of the district of the Marriage Officer to whom the notice has been given under section 5, it is transmitted to the Marriage Officer of the district within whose limits both the partners permanently resides and that Marriage Officer shall thereupon ask for a copy.
Declaration by Parties and Witnesses
Before the marriage is solemnized the parties and three witnesses shall, in the presence of the Marriage Officer, sign a pronouncement in the form specified in the Third Schedule to this Act and the declaration shall be again signed by the Marriage Officer.
Place and Form of Solemnization
The marriage shall be solemnized at the office of the Marriage Officer, or at any other place within reasonable distance, as the parties may wish for, upon payment of such additional fees as may be prescribed. The marriage may be solemnized in a form, which the parties may choose to adopt. However, No marriage is complete and obligatory unless each party says to the other in the presence of the Marriage Officer and the three witnesses in any language understood by the present parties, I - - - - - - take thee--------to be my lawful wife (or husband).
Certificate of Marriage
After the marriage has been solemnized the Marriage Officer shall offer a certificate in the Marriage Certificate Book. The parties to the marriage and the three witnesses sign this certificate. Finally, this shall be the definite evidence of the marriage.
Marriage in India under the Special Marriage Act
The Indian Special Marriage Act 1954 allows marriages between persons who are not of the same community or who have different religions or nationalities. The range of the Act includes the entire territory of India and extends to would be spouses who are both Indian nationals living in foreign lands.
Prior to the solemnization of the marriage, the parties and three witnesses must sign a declaration in the presence of a marriage officer, who will also sign the document. The marriage will be solemnized in any structure that the parties wish to adopt as long as the solemnization occurs at the marriage officer's office or any place that the marriage administrator sanctions. The marriage must include the exchange of the following statement: "I (name of the self) take you (name of the partner) to be my lawful (wife or husband)." After the solemnization act, the marriage officer will enter the certificate in the Marriage Certificate Book. The three witnesses must countersign the certificate. The entry of the certificate in the book is supposed to be conclusive evidence of a lawful marriage.
Any marriage in India may be registered under this Act. The parties must apply for the marriage registration jointly. After serving the notice period of 30 days to the public, the marriage officer will enter the certificate into the Marriage Certificate Book. The spouses require three witnesses to sign the certificate.
The main reason behind passing the Special Marriage Act was to offer a special form of marriage for the people of India and all Indian nationals living abroad. This marriage act is followed irrespective of the religion or faith practiced by either party to the marriage. The parties observe any ceremonies for the solemnization of their marriage but certain formalities are prescribed before the marriage officer can register the marriage. It is for the good of the Indian citizens abroad, the act provides for the engagement of diplomatic and consular officers as marriage officers for solemnizing and registering marriages between citizens of India in a foreign country. The Act is valid throughout the country except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
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