Process for Registration of a Court Marriage - its Eligibility & Requirements

Overview: A court marriage is one that is solemnized under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 and can be performed between an Indian male and female, irrespective of race, caste, religion.  It can also be performed between and Indian and a foreigner. 

An important feature of such a marriage is that it does away with the traditional ceremonies, functions that form a part of a typical marriage as it is performed within a short period of time after which the parties are granted a marriage certificate that is legally valid across India. 

Purpose: To offer an alternate form of marriage to those who do not wish to be bound by a traditional or religious marriage. It is also works well as an option for those who are looking for a hassle free, simple registration of marriage within a short period of time. 

Areas of Application of Law: Provisions under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. 

Process: Below is the step by step procedure and eligibility for registration of a court marriage: 

  1. There are certain pre-requisites that the parties must comply with before applying for a court marriage:

-      The male must be over 21 years of age and female over 18 years of age.

-      There should not be a valid and subsisting marriage of any of the persons with another at that point in time.

-      The parties must not fall into the degree of prohibited relationship (between a brother and sister, between a person and an ancestor or descendant of the other person).

-      Both parties must be able to give consent for the marriage and should not be suffering from unsoundness of mind, insanity or a mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and procreation of children.

 2. As a first step, the marriage officer of the district has to be informed of the intention to marry.

3. For this, the parties need to file a notice of intended marriage in the specified form to the Marriage Registrar of the district in which at least one of the parties to the marriage has resided for a period of not less than 30 days immediately preceding the date on which such notice is given.

4. The notice is then published by the Registrar of Marriage inviting objections, if any.

5. Unless the marriage is objected by anyone within expiration of 30 days from the date on which notice of intended marriage has been published, the marriage may be solemnized.

6. Any person can raise objections to the marriage based on the grounds listed in the act. The marriage officer will, within 30 days from the date of objection, make inquiries and if he finds merit in the objections raised, the marriage cannot be solemnized.

7. If there are no objections raised, the marriage may be solemnized at the specified Marriage Office.

8. Both parties along with three witnesses are required to be present on the date of solemnization/registration of marriage.

9. Both parties along with the three witnesses will sign the declaration and will also be countersigned by the marriage officer.

10. The process of grant of marriage certificate usually takes anywhere between 1-3 months and the party can obtain the marriage certificate within 24 hours by paying Rs. 10,000 

Documents required to be submitted by the parties for the procedure, if any: The following documents will have to be submitted individually by both the parties: 

  1. Application form duly signed by both the parties with the prescribed fee (usually it is Rs. 150 but can vary from district to district).
  2. Documentary evidence of date of birth of parties.
  3. Residential proof of both the parties.
  4. Two passport size photographs of both the parties.
  5. Residential Proof, Identity proof and PAN Card of the three witnesses.
  6. NOC in case it is a foreign marriage.
  7. Death certificate or divorce decrees whichever is applicable, in case one of the parties had any marriages in the past.

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