In India, a court marriage takes place under the special marriage act, 1954 and is common across the nation. a court marriage is performed without any discrimination on the basis of caste, color, religion, or creed. The parties who belong to two different religions are also eligible for court marriage. Simply a court marriage means solemnizing of marriage according to law. Court marriage can also be performed in inter-caste and inter-religion people. The interested parties can directly apply to the Marriage Registrar in order to get a marriage certificate.
Eligibility for court marriage
1. Firstly, both the parties should not have lived as husband /wife at the time of marriage.
2. The bride should be at least 18 years of age 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 the parties should not be within the degree of prohibited relationship. ( the court marriage can take place within a prohibited relationship if their custom allows doing so)
Document required for court marriage
1. Following are certain documents which are required for court marriage:
2. The application form should be signed by both parties.
3. Evidence of date of birth of parties.
4. Residential proof of both the parties.
5. Two passport size photographs of the bride and groom.
6. Death certificate or divorce decree if the parties are previously married.
7. Receipt of fees paid with respect to the application form in the District Court.
Affirmation by the parties that they are not related to each other within the degree of prohibited relationship defined in the Special Marriage Act.
Process of court marriage
Step 1-Notice of marriage
Firstly, the parties need to give notice to the marriage officer of the district. 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; there is a waiting period for 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. but 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. 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. And this certificate must be signed by both the parties and three witnesses. such a certificate is conclusive evidence of the court marriage.
Court marriage cost
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.
Advantages of court marriage:
1. It is economical and a simpler process
2. It saves the huge expenses of a wedding rituals and ceremonies.
3. The parties to the marriage get the option of solemnizing the marriage in any way they want.
4. It ensures the consent of both the parties. As both, the parties of marriage willingly sign the marriage documents. But There as in the marriage of ritual, the consent of the parties may or may not be free.
Work of a Lawyer in court marriage:
1. The parties first consult their advocate for filing the notice of the marriage. A matrimony lawyer will be your best bet to go ahead with the court marriage procedure.
2. An advocate will advise the parties to the marriage as per the applicable law, the place of registration, where marriage can be registered.
3. An advocate will ensure that the parties are of majority age.
4. An advocate will ensure free consent of both parties.
5. An advocate will prepare all the necessary documents required for the registration process. It helps in reducing the burden and time of parties to the marriage.
6. An advocate will set up a mutually convenient time for you, your partner, and the three witnesses to meet at the office of the marriage registrar to conduct a final check of documentation.
7. In case of further claims and deliberations raised, an advocate will file an appeal on behalf of parties and make the arguments.
About the author –
This article has been written by Noor Fatima, 4th year law student at City Law College, Barabanki.