How To Register Marriage Under Special Marriage Act In India

Published on 13 Mar 2020 by Shivi

The marriage laws in India are based on the religion a person follows, however, in order to facilitate a special form of marriage for any person in India and NRIs irrespective of their religion, the Special Marriage Act was enacted. This guide lays down the conditions, documents required to register a marriage under the Special Marriage Act in India.

The Special Marriage Act deals with inter-caste and inter-religion marriage in India. Intercaste marriage is a marriage between people belonging to two different castes and inter-religion marriage is a marriage between two people who belong to different religions or faiths. The Act was enacted to provide for a special form of marriage, by registration where the parties to the marriage are not required to renounce his/her religion.

This Act covers marriages among Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. This Act extends not only to the Indian citizens belonging to different castes and religions but also to the Indian nationals living abroad.

Conditions Applicable For a Marriage Under Special Marriage Act

The following conditions must be fulfilled for special marriage in India:

  1. Neither party should have a spouse living at the time of marriage.

  2. Neither party should be incapable of giving a valid consent to the marriage due to unsoundness of mind.

  3. Neither party should have been suffering from mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and the procreation of children.

  4. Neither party should have been subject to recurrent attacks of epilepsy or insanity.

  5. The bridegroom should have completed the age of 21 years and the bride the age of 18 years at the time of marriage.

  6. The parties should not be within the degrees of prohibited relationship. However, where a custom governing at least one of the parties permits marriage between them, such marriage may be solemnized irrespective of the fact that they are within the degrees of prohibited relationship.

Degrees Of Prohibited Relationship

The following relationships fall under the degree of prohibited relationship:

  1. Mother

  2. Father's widow (stepmother)

  3. Mother's mother

  4. Mother's father's widow (step-grandmother)

  5. Mother's mother's mother

  6. Mother's mother's father's widow

  7. Mother's father's mother

  8. Mother's father's father's widow (step great grandmother)

  9. Father's father's widow (step-grandmother)

  10. Father's mother's mother

Process of Marriage Under Special Marriage Act, 1954

The following process is followed for marriage registration under the Special Marriage Act

Notice of Marriage

The man and woman who intend to get married under the Special Marriage Act are required to give a notice in writing in the specified form to the Marriage Officer of the district in which at least one of them has resided for a period of not less than 30 days immediately preceding the date on which such notice is given. 

Publication of Notice

The notice given is published at the office of the Marriage Officer for any person to object to the marriage on the grounds that such marriage violates any of the conditions necessary for the marriage. Once the 30-days period is over, the marriage is solemnized in the office of Marriage Officer.

ALSO READ: The Concept And Procedure Of Arya Samaj Marriage

Witnesses to the Marriage

There is a requirement of 3 witnesses to sign the marriage declaration at the Marriage Registrar’s office before the marriage can be solemnised.

The marriage is then solemnized at the office of the Marriage Officer or at such place within a reasonable distance as the parties may desire upon payment of such additional fees as may be prescribed.

Certificate of Marriage

When the solemnisation of marriage is done, the Marriage Officer grants a marriage certificate and enters it in the Marriage Certificate Book. This marriage certificate is signed by the parties to the marriage and 3witnesses.

Succession Laws After Marriage Under Special Marriage Act

The succession to the property of a person married under the Special Marriage Act and that of their children will be governed under the Indian Succession Act. However, when both the parties to the marriage belong to Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain religions, the succession of their property will be governed under the Hindu Succession Act. 

Divorce In Case Of Special Marriage

Any person married under the Special Marriage Act cannot file a petition for divorce unless and until one year has expired from the date of their marriage as registered in the marriage books. However, in cases where the court is of the opinion that the person has suffered extreme hardships or the respondent has shown exceptional depravity on their part, a petition for divorce would be maintained.

Legistify can connect you with top marriage lawyers in India for your marriage registration under the Special Marriage Act. Call us at 8468833013 or send us an email at [email protected]


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