Uniform across the nation, the procedure of court marriage is administered by the “Special marriage act, 1954” an act of the parliament of India. Court marriage is solemnized between a male and a female eligible for marriage irrespective of their caste, creed, and religion. You need no elaborate ritualistic steps, rather the presence of the marriage officer and three witnesses. Moreover, marrying under the act is sufficient for a valid marriage. Court marriage can also be solemnized between an Indian and a foreign individual.
Documents Required for Court Marriage
Both the prospective bride and groom need to procure the following documents for the procedure of court marriage.
- Marriage application form duly filled and signed by the bride and the groom.
- Receipt of the fees paid in the district court for the application form.
- Date of birth proof of the bride and the groom (Birth Certificate/Passport/Class 10th Certificate )
- Residential address proof (Voter Card/Aadhar Card/Ration Card/Driving License).
- Affidavits from each of the bride and groom confirming date of birth, ad present marital status (unmarried/divorced/widowed).
- Two passport-sized photographs from both parties attested by a gazetted officer.
- A statement affirming that the bride and the groom are not related to each other within the degree of prohibited relationship, as mentioned in the Special marriage act.
- A divorce decree/order copy for divorcee and death certificate of spouse for widow/widower.
In case of one of the candidate being a foreign nationalist, he/she need to submit the following documents in addition to the above-mentioned documents –
- A copy of the passport or visa
- A NOC or marital status certificate from the concerned embassy.
- Documentary evidence of staying in India for at least 30 days (residential proof or report from the concerned SHO).
The Procedure of Court Marriage in India
The procedure of court marriage, titled “solemnization of special marriages”, is covered under chapter two of the Special Marriage Act. The process of court marriage can be divided into the following successive steps –
1. Notice of Intended Marriage
The procedure of the court marriage begins with the acquiring of a notice of the intended marriage. The notice should be as per the provisions of Section 5 of the Special Marriage Act. The parties need to send a mandatory written notice to the marriage officer showing the intention to marry each other. Before sending the notice, at least one of the parties needs to reside in the district of the marriage officer for a minimum of 30 days.
2. Publishing of the Notice
The marriage officer publishes the notice by affixing the notice in a visible place in his office. The marriage officer keeps all the original copies of the notices in the marriage notice book.
In case the parties are temporarily residing in the jurisdiction of the marriage officer, the officer will forward the notice to the marriage officer of the permanent residence of the parties. There, the officer will affix the notice at the right place.
3. Objection to Marriage
As per section 7 of the special marriage act, if a person has a complaint against the intended marriage can raise an objection within 30 days of publication of notice by the marriage officer. The marriage officer will end the procedure of the intended court marriage upon finding the objection raised as correct. On the contrary, if the objection is unjustified, then the officer will proceed with the court marriage. However, if the marriage officer sustains the objection, the parties can appeal before the district court to complete the procedure of court marriage.
4. Declaration by Parties and Witnesses
Before finalizing the court marriage, both parties and the three witnesses need to sign the court marriage form in the presence of the marriage officer. Thereafter, the form is countersigned by the marriage officer.
5. Place and Form of Solemnization
According to section 12 of the special marriage act, the solemnization of the court marriage can occur at the office of the marriage officer or any reasonable distance. In the process of the marriage, each party vows to take the other person as a spouse in the presence of the marriage officer and three witnesses. The parties can opt for solemnizing their marriage in any form.
6. Issuing of the Marriage Certificate
Once the marriage solemnization occurs as per the rules and regulation of the court marriage, the marriage officer puts the marriage details in the marriage certificate according to section 4 of the special marriage act. The certificate of the court marriage is a valid marriage statement signed by both the parties and their witnesses.
The procedure of court marriage is easier and costs lesser than traditional marriage. The Special Marriage Act for court marriage in India is secular and is uniform for all persons across the nation.
The couple needs no further application to the marriage officer for registration of the marriage. Moreover, the certificate of the court marriage is the conclusive evidence of the marriage between the two parties.