Love happens. But what if one falls for the beautiful lady next-door who happens to be a Christian? Although, we tend to love our beloved quite feverishly , we still are to be loyal to our religion. But hail our central legislature , as they helped save the day and us from a very uncomfortable catch 22 happening in our love life.
The solution was enactment of the Special Marriage act, 1954 and it also served as a tool for producing corroborative evidence of a legal and a valid marriage to help protect people who wanted to run away from their matrimonial duties and very cleverly did not call for a photographer for covering the intended most happiest day of their lives.
So, here are some of the important sections you must know!
Section 1: This act applies to the whole of India except JNK and also to Indian citizens who are domiciled in other countries and who want to get married under this act. It also applies to people living in JNK who are domiciled there but are Indian citizens.
Section2: explains degree of prohibited relationships. You may be related to someone by
- full, half and uterine blood. Related to someone by full blood means you both have the same mother and father and related by half blood means you have the same father but different mothers. And relation by uterine blood means you have the same mother but different fathers. The blood relation may be illegitimate or legitimate.
You can’t marry persons who fall in the above categories. L
Under this act a man or a woman cannot marry the persons as given in part 1 and 2 respectively of the 1st schedule. However, if an established custom(as specified by the central government in an official gazette to apply to a tribe community, family or group only) in either of the spouses religion permits a marriage btw persons in the prohibited relationship , then it will be a valid one, and the custom shall over rule the provision of this act.
Conditions of a valid marriage:
Section 4: Two lovers(of the opposite gender ofcourse) may get married under this act if:
1. They don’t already have a spouse living.
2. the boy is above 21 and the girl above 18
3. they are both sane i.e. of sound mind and capable of giving consent. But not if although they may give consent but are suffering from a mental disorder which prevents them from having kids or generally renders them unfit for marriage)
EXPLANATION- the expression “mental disorder” means mental illness, arrested or incomplete development of mind, psychopathic disorder (a persistent disorder or disability of mind (whether or not including sub-normality of intelligence) which results in abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct) and whether or not it requires or is susceptible to medical treatment or any other disorder or disability of mind and includes schizophrenia.
4. They don’t suffer from recurrent attacks of insanity.
5. You must not be impotent at the time of marriage (sec 24)
Notice of intended marriage:
Section 5: if you want to tie the knot in a particular district, then firstly either you or your fiancé have to reside there for at least 30 days and then give a notice to the Marriage Officer in the manner given in the 2nd schedule and then that officer shall transfer it to the place where you or your fiancé permanently reside and over there that marriage officer shall put a copy of the same in his office where everyone can see it. Lol
Declaration by parties and witnesses
Section 11: Before the marriage is solemnized the parties and three witnesses shall, before the Marriage Officer, sign a declaration in the form specified in the Third Schedule and the MO will countersign it.
Objection to marriage.
Section 7 and 8: If you are the angry parent or a jealous ex or other you may raise an objection to an intended marriage of which notice has already been given before 30 days only under the conditions given in sec 4 and you will have to give it in writing to the MO which he will sign but if he finds that there is no valid reason for objection or you out of kind heartedness withdraw it then the MO will solemnize the marriage within 30 days of your making the objection. If you are unhappy with his decision of not solemnizing your marriage you can file an appeal in the district court where his office lies. J However, if an objection is filed in JNK then MO will forward it to the Central Government and they will decide whether to go for the marriage or not and that decision shall be final! But beware Mr. ‘person who has raised objection’ because if it appears to the MO that your objection was without good faith or was unreasonable he may impose a fine of Rs. 1000 and may give it to the parties to the marriage!
Place and form of solemnization:
Section 12: Your wedding can take place either at the MO’s office or at any place within a ‘reasonable distance’ from his office. And you also might have to pay some fees as prescribed. For your marriage to be complete and binding you must say -” I, (A), take thee (B), to be my lawful wife (or husband)” in presence of the MO and 3 witnesses in any language understood by your intended spouse.
Consequences of Marriage under this Act:
Section 19 says that if you marry under this act and you are a part of the Hindu undivided family then the marriage shall be deemed to effect your severance from such a family. L
So, those were just some of the important sections we as a layman must know! So, go eat that shadi ka laddoo now!
Karuna Sharma Maharaj
Army Institute of Law, Mohali
[Submitted as an entry for the MightyLaws.in Blog Post Writing Competition, 2011]