Synopsis: The Special Marriage Act was enacted to provide any person in India and all Indian nationals in foreign countries with a special form of marriage regardless of the religion which either party may profess.
The Supreme Court of India has been moved by a plea challenging certain provisions of the Special Marriage Act on the ground that it violates the fundamental rights of citizens under Articles 14 , 15 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. The petitioner is a student of law and seeks the directions of the court to strike down Sections 6(2), 7, 8 and 10 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 as unjust, illegal and unconstitutional.
The petitioner also seeks direction to strike down Section 6(3) of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 to the extent that it says the marriage officer shall subsequently cause a copy thereof, which is to be affixed to some conspicuous place in his office, as unjust, illegal and unconstitutional.
The petitioner further seeks instructions to strike down Section 9 of the Special Marriage Act , 1954 as unjust, illegal and unconstitutional as it deals with the inquiry pursuant to Section 8 of the Special Marriage Act.
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is an Act of the Parliament enacted with the intention of providing a special form of marriage for the Indian people and all Indian nationals in foreign countries, regardless of the religion or faith that is followed by either party. It may apply to marriages between castes and interreligions. This act applies to all states in India except Jammu & Kashmir. This Act applies not only to Indian citizens belonging to different castes and religions but also to Indian nationals living outside the country.
The basic requirement for a valid marriage under this Act is consent of both parties to the marriage. If both parties to the marriage are willing to marry, that’s enough; caste, religion , race, and so on can’t act as a barrier to their union here. For marriage pursuant to this Act, the parties must file a notice with the Marriage Registrar of the District stating their intention to marry each other in which at least one of the parties to the marriage has lived for at least 30 days before the date on which such notice is filed. The marriage is then said to be solemnised after the expiry of 30 days from the date such notification was published. But if any person relating to the parties objects to this marriage and the registrar finds it is a reasonable cause of objection, he can cancel the marriage on such grounds. The parties have also to give their consent to the marriage before the marriage officer and three witnesses for a valid marriage. These are the basic requirements under the Special Marriage Act for a valid marriage which every Indian must know about.