How to register marriage under Special Marriage Act, 1954?
By Shweta Nair
The Special Marriage Act of 1954 is a very special law enacted to legally register marriage between people belonging to two different religions or castes. An act like this helps such couples to marry without any complexities in a simple manner. A prospective bride and bridegroom in India can either register their marriages under their own personal laws which includes Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or Muslim Marriage Act, 1954. Otherwise, if a couple belongs to two different religions, then such marriages can be registered under Special Marriage Act of 1954. It applies to all the citizens of India no matter to which religion they belong to and even to Indians settled abroad. Solemnization as well as registration of marriages, both are permitted under this act. Unlike other personal laws where it can be registered only after solemnization of marriage. Also, if couple belonging to same religion wish to register their marriage under this act, they may do so.
Procedure for registration of marriages under Special Marriage Act, 1954:
In order to be eligible for marriage under this act, there are certain conditions that must be fulfilled which include:
Free consent of both the parties is required under this act for which both of them should have the capacity to decide and give consent. They must be sound.
No party should have a living spouse at the time of marriage. If there was any prior marriage then it must be legally dissolved by divorce.
The minimum age limit of a bride is 18 years and for a bridegroom is 21 years.
Both the parties must not be related to each other in a prohibited relationship.
Application to the Marriage Officer:
The jurisdiction of the district of marriage officer is subject to the place of permanent residence of either the husband or the wife or both the parties last residing together. Then, an application in writing according to the format mentioned in second schedule must be sent to the marriage officer of the district wherein both or either of them last resided for 30 days. So before 30 days, such an application must be submitted.
The marriage officer after receiving application signed by both parties shall then issue a public notice to raise objections within 30 days. Objections are mostly related to not fulfilling conditions specified under the act. If there are no objections as such and all the conditions are complied with then certificate of marriage shall be put in the marriage register book wherein bride groom and bride along with 3 witnesses have to sign.
A marriage under the Special Marriage Act can be said to be registered and solemnized only after following all the steps as mentioned above. Further, certain documents must also be remembered to be carried at the time of registration along with witnesses which includes proof of age, passport size photographs, address proof, affidavit regarding marital status, non-relationship of parties within the degrees of prohibited relationship.
If the marriage officer rejects to register marriage, then an appeal can be filed to the district court within the same local jurisdiction of the marriage officer. Decision of the district court shall be final and binding on the Marriage Officer.