What are the different Marriage Laws in India?

14 Jul 2021  Read 513 Views

In India, the apex court has provided the right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. This includes the right to get married. However, in order to be married legally, both the bride and groom must complete certain requirements that are laid down by the laws.

Due to the religious diversity, these laws vary from one another. Even though some of the laws have been modified by the Parliament, some of the others still exist as per the customs.

Hindu Marriage Act 1955

A marriage under this act is solemnized if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The couple should not have any spouse living at the time of the marriage.

  • Neither of the couple is incapable of giving consent to the marriage due to unsound mind.

  • Neither of the couple is suffering from any mental disorder which will make them unfit for marriage and procreation of children.

  • Neither of the couple is suffering from epilepsy.

  • The bride must be over the age of 18 and the bridegroom must be over the age of 21 at the time of marriage.

  • The couple should not be in a prohibited relationship unless permitted by the customs.

  • The couple should not be sapindas to one another unless permitted by the customs

Applicability of the Act

The Act is applicable to the following people:

  • Any person who is a Hindu by religion including Virashaiva, Lingayat or a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj.

  • Any person who is a Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh by religion

  • Any other person domiciled in the territories to which the Acts extends who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion.

  • Any child, legitimate or illegitimate, one of whose parents are Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas or Sikhs by religion

  • Any child, legitimate or illegitimate, one of whose parents is a Hindu, Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh by religion and who is brought up as a member of the tribe, community, group or family to which such parent belongs or belonged.

  • any person who is a convert or re-convert to the Hindu, Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh religion.

The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872

For a marriage to be valid under this Act, specific requirements are to be fulfilled. According to the Act, either both the parties or at least one of them must be Christian. Marriage is solemnized once the following requirements are fulfilled:

  • The bride must be over the age of 18 and the bridegroom must be over the age of 21 at the time of marriage.

  • The parties to the marriage must give consent to the ceremony. The consent should not be forcefully obtained.

  • Neither of the couple should have a spouse living at the time of marriage.

  • The marriage has to be performed in the presence of two witnesses and before a marriage registrar who has the license and authority to grant the marriage certificate. 

Documents Required

The following documents are necessary for the registration of a marriage under this Act:

  • The filled application with correct details

  • Residence proof and age proof of both the parties

  • The marriage certificate issued by the registrar.

  • Proof about the mental condition and marital statis of both the parties.

Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937

This Act regulates the solemnization of marriages in the Muslim community in India and the registration is done under the Muslim Marriage Registration Act, 1981. This Act applies to all Indian citizens, whether residing in India or abroad. The State of Jammu and Kashmir does not fall under the ambit of this Act. The following are the necessary requirements that have to be fulfilled:

  • Both parties to the marriage should belong to the Muslim religion.

  • Each party should have completed the necessary age requirement and should have the mental capacity to consent to the marriage.

  • Marriage will be solemnized by a person appointed as a marriage officer under the provision of the Act.

  • Consent to marriage should not be obtained by force.

  • A lawful marriage requires the groom to make the proposal of marriage which then needs to be accepted by a relative who is appointed on behalf of the bride.

  • The entire process of the marriage should be performed in the same sitting and there should not be any lag between the proposal and acceptance.

Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936

The Act states that there is a separate law regarding the Parsi Marriage in which the marriage ceremony is valid only after the Ashirvaad.  The rights and remedies prescribe equally for both the parties. Under Section 3 of the Act, the following are the requisites for a valid marriage:

  • The parties to the marriage must have completed the age of 21 in case of the groom and 18 years in the case of the bride.

  • Neither of the parties should be related to each other by consanguinity,

  • The marriage should be performed as per the religious ceremony of the Ashirvaad in presence of a Parsi priest and two trusted Parsi witnesses, 

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

Special Marriage Act,1954

The Special Marriage Act is applicable to all the citizens of India. Any individual can perform and register their marriage under this act, irrespective of their religion. Individuals who want their marriage to be registered under this Act should submit a notice to the marriage officer. The important provisions that are to be considered for a legal marriage are:

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

  • The groom should have completed the age of 21 and the bride should be above the age of 18 years at the time of marriage.

  • Both parties should have the mental capacity to enter into the marriage.

Registration of Marriage in India

Registration of Marriage declares the legality of marriage between two parties. The marriage certificate acts as a proof of the marriage. The process of registering a marriage is:

  • The parties to the marriage have to visit the registrar office and submit the filled-out marriage registration application along with the required documents attached to it and the prescribed fees.

  • All the documents must be submitted in sets of two: original document and attested copies.

  • The office of the registrar must be in the location where either of the spouse have resided for over 6 months.

  • After the verification of all the documents, a date for the issuance of the certificate is provided to the spouses.

  • On the specified date, the party has to appear in front of the registrar.

Conclusion

The varied marriage laws in India are due to the religious diversity in the country. Registration of marriage provides an important status to the husband and wife so that they can claim legal rights and remedies from the courts.

About the Author: Antalina Guha | 29 Post(s)

Antalina Guha, is in the  5th year of B.A. LL.B course in Ajeenkya DY Patil University, with a core interest in Intellectual Property Rights and Criminal law.

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