Khushi Pandey, a 1st-Year Student at Army Institute of Law, Mohali has written this article explaining”The Procedure of Court Marriage in India”.
WHAT IS COURT MARRIAGE
Court marriages, unlike ordinary Indian weddings, are marriages solemnized under/in accordance with the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (hereinafter ‘the act’). The marriage can take place or be solemnized in the court itself in the presence of a Marriage Officer and three witnesses. These marriages do not have to include the elaborate customary or ritualistic steps of the personal laws of the parties. Hence, merely marrying in the presence of a marriage officer in accordance with the act is sufficient for a valid marriage.
ELIGIBILITY: WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR COURT MARRIAGE
1) Both parties should not have lived as husband /wife at the time of marriage.
2) The bride should be at least 18 years and the groom should be of 21 years of age.
3) The parties should not be of unsound mind.
4) They should not be unable to give valid consent at the time of marriage.
5) Both parties should not suffer from any kind of insanity or mental disorder.
6) Both parties should not be within the degree of a prohibited relationship. (The court marriage can take place within a prohibited relationship if their custom allows doing so)
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR COURT MARRIAGE
Following are certain documents that are required for court marriage:
1) The application form should be signed by both parties.
2) Evidence of date of birth of parties.
3) Residential proof of both parties.
4) Two passport-size photographs of the bride and groom.
5) Death certificate or divorce decree if the parties are previously married.
6) Receipt of fees paid with respect to the application form in the District Court.
7) Affirmation by the parties that they are not related to each other within the degree of prohibited relationship defined in the Special Marriage Act.
PROCEDURE OF COURT MARRIAGE 2023
Step 1-Notice of marriage
Firstly, the parties need to give notice to the marriage officer of the district. Also, It mandates that the parties to the marriage shall give notice of the intended marriage in writing and in the form prescribed in the Second Schedule to the Marriage Officer.
Step 2-To publish the notice
The Marriage Officer shall publish the notice by affixing it to some conspicuous place in his office after publishing the notice. Then there is a waiting period of 30 days for any kind of objection. If there is no objection, then the marriage officer can perform the marriage.
Step 3- Objection to marriage
Under section 7, anyone can object to the court marriage within the 30 Days period that the marriage would violate any conditions specified in section 4 of the act. However, the objection should be on a legal basis, not on a personal basis. 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 impede the solemnization of the marriage.
Step 4- Declaration by the parties and the Witnesses
Before the solemnization of the marriage, three witnesses are required in court marriage. A signature and declaration in the form specified in the Third Schedule, in the presence of the Marriage Officer by both the parties and three witnesses are required.
Step 5- Certificate of marriage
After following all these steps, the marriage officer will give the marriage certificate. In addition, this certificate must be signed by both the parties and three witnesses. Such a certificate is conclusive evidence of the court marriage.
COST OF REGISTRATION
The process of court marriage cost also varies from state to state and one has to individually look into the fees of the respective place where the marriage is to be solemnized.