There is a difference between a traditional and court marriage in India. Marriages in court are conducted in the presence of a marriage commissioner. During a traditional wedding, there are no traditions followed. The three witnesses needed to perform a court marriage are two people who meet the marriage eligibility requirements. No customary celebration is required to celebrate the marriage. Court marriages are legal when witnessed by two witnesses and two marriage officers. Special Marriage Act, 1954 stipulates that a court marriage must meet specified requirements.
A court marriage is a union of two people of different genders and different religious beliefs. In a court marriage, both parties do not have to be Indians. Also, foreign nationals can marry each other.
India’s rules and regulations for court marriage
A court marriage needs to follow certain rules and regulations as outlined in Section 4 of the special marriage act, 1954. The rules are as follows:
- Any of the parties should not be married pre-existing. In either case, the previous spouse must be deceased or divorce must have been obtained.
- Court marriages should be consented to freely by both parties. Consent should not be taken when the subject is insane, unsound of mind, etc.
- Both parties should be of legal age for a court marriage. The boy should be 21 years old, and the girl should be 18 years old.
- A court marriage should have no degree of marriage between either of the parties. It is only legal to marry if the customs of one of the parties allow it.
In general, the court marriage process can be divided into six steps according to the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
A marriage notice:
A marriage notice needs to be mailed to the couple regarding the provisions of Section 5 of the special marriage act. In order to receive marriage licenses, the marriage officer must be notified in writing that both parties are interested in getting married. Send the notification to the marriage commissioner. Depending on where the parties to a court marriage reside for a minimum of 30 days before sending the marriage notice, the marriage officer will be in charge of that jurisdiction.
Notice to the public
It is the duty of the marriage officer to post the notice in his office where it is clearly visible to everyone when it is submitted to his office by the marriage officer. Original copies are placed in the notice book.
In the case that the notice sent by the parties does not match the jurisdiction, the notice will be sent to the appropriate jurisdiction in which the parties had been residing.
Section 7 of the special marriage act requires the marriage officer to take into consideration any objection raised by any person within 30 days after the publication of the notice. If the marriage officer finds any reasonable grounds for objection, he will immediately stop the marriage process or proceed anyway. The parties can appeal against the marriage officer’s order in their respective district courts if the objection is upheld by the marriage officer.
Parties and witnesses declare:
According to the court marriage rules, the next step is to have the parties and witnesses declare the marriage publicly. Prior to finalizing the court marriage, both parties and three witnesses must sign the court wedding form stating that this marriage is taking place with their free consent. In the presence of the marriage officer, you will need to sign the court marriage declaration form.
Accord of solemnisation
The Special Marriage Act stipulates that a court marriage may be solemnized at any courthouse within a reasonable distance of the marriage officer’s office, or any other public place within a reasonable distance. Additionally, a court marriage can be solemnized by filling out an online application form along with paying court marriage fees.
If the marriage is solemnized in compliance with all of the rules and regulations of the court marriage, the marriage officer will enter the details into the marriage certificate in accordance with Schedule IV of the Special Marriage Act. Following signatures from both parties and witnesses, a court marriage certificate will be issued as evidence of the legal union.
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