India is a sovereign, secular, socialist, democratic, republic country as stated in the preamble therefore, a lot of religions a followed in India and every religion has its own customs and beliefs. And securing the rights of all the people we have separate law for different religions for example Hindu Marriage Act for the followers of this particular religion and Muslim Marriage Act for the followers of this religion. However, no matter whatever religion one follows, marriage is indeed a very special part of every religion and is a most important part of a person’s life.
Court marriage usually depends upon the bond between the couple. Court marriage is the solemnization of wedding between the male and the female who are capable to marry without any bar to their caste, religion, or creed in front of a court, a marriage officer and three witnesses. Court marriages in India are different Then the traditional marriages as they take place in Court. The only condition is that it should satisfy the essentials of Special Marriage Act, 1954.
Conditions for Court Marriage
- Previous marriage validation – Neither party should have a living spouse.
- Valid Consent- There should be valid consent of both the parties.
- Age – The male must have completed 21 years and the female 18 years of age.
- Fit for Procreation – Both the parties should befit for procreation of children.
- Prohibited Relationship – Parties should not be within degrees of the prohibited relationship as provided in Schedule I.
Requirements for Marriage under the Act
- There should be no rites or ceremonial requirementssince marriage performed under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 is a civil contract.
- Neither party should has a spouse living.
- Neither party is inadequate of giving a legal consent to it in consequence of unsoundness of mind, or though competent of giving a valid consent, has been suffering from mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and the procreation of children, or has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity
- Male has completed the age of twenty-one years and the female the age of eighteen years.
- Parties should not be within the degrees of prohibited relationship except in cases where the custom allows.
Procedure for a court marriage
The procedure for a court marriage, covered under Chapter II titled “solemnization of special marriages”, is given below:
Step 1 – Notice of the intended marriage
In the initial step of a court marriage, a notice has to be given to the marriage officer under section 5 of the act. It instructs that the parties to the marriage shall give notice of the planned marriage in writing and in the form prescribed in Second Schedule to the Marriage Officer. The Marriage Officer must have jurisdiction in the district where at least one of the parties must have resided for a minimum of 30 days prior to the giving of the notice.
Step 2 – Publication
The Marriage Officer shall publish the notice by attaching it to some conspicuous place in his office. The Marriage Officer shall keep all the true copies of the notices in the Marriage Notice Book.
In case if the couple is not permanently inhabiting in the area within the jurisdiction of the marriage officer, then the officer should send a replica of the notice to the marriage officer of the place where the parties permanently reside so that the copy of the notice can be affixed to some prominent place in his office.
Step 3 – Objection to Marriage
Any individual, under section 7, can raise a disapproval against the marriage before the marriage officer on the reasons that the marriage would infringe any conditions specified in section 4 of the act. The complaint must be raised within 30 days of the publication of the notice by the marriage officer. The nature of the complaint is to be registered by the marriage officer in the marriage notice book.
The marriage officer, under section 8, on receiving an objection would enquire into it within 30 days and solemnize the marriage if the objection doesn’t constrain the solemnization of the marriage.
Step 4 – Declaration by parties and witnesses
Before the solemnization of the marriage, the couple and three witnesses are to sign a statement in the form specified in the Third Schedule, in the presence of the marriage officer and which is to be countersigned by the Marriage Officer.
Step 5 – Place and form of solemnization
The court marriage, under section 12 can be solemnized at the office of the marriage officer, or at such other place within an acceptable distance.
The marriage shall be declared binding only when each party in the presence of the marriage officer and the three witnesses says to the other party in any language understood by the parties “I, (A), take thee (B), to be my lawful wife (or husband)”. The parties may prefer to solemnise their marriage in any form.
Step 6 – Certificate of Marriage
The marriage officer enters a certificate in the form specified in Schedule IV of the act in the marriage certificate book. If the certificate is signed by both parties and three witnesses, such a certificate is conclusive evidence of the court marriage.