The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to provide a special form of marriage for the people of India.
All Indian nationals in foreign countries, irrespective of the religion or faith followed by either party.
The Act originated from a piece of legislation proposed during the late 19th century.
In 1872 Act III, 1872 was enacted but later it was found inadequate for certain desired reforms, and Parliament enacted a new legislation.
Henry Sumner Maine first introduced Act III of 1872, which would permit any dissenters to marry whomever they chose under a new civil marriage law.
In the final wording, the law sought to legitimize marriages for those willing to renounce their profession of faith altogether (“I do not profess the Hindu, Christian, Jewish, etc. religion”).
It can apply in inter-caste and inter-religion marriages.
Overall, the response from local governments and administrators was that they were unanimously opposed to Maine’s Bill and believed the legislation encouraged marriages based on lust, which would inevitably lead to immorality.
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 replaced the old Act III, 1872. The new enactment has 3 major objectives:
- To provide a special form of marriage in certain cases
- to provide for registration of certain marriages and
- to provide for divorced
- Any person, irrespective of religion.
- Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, or Jews can also perform marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
- Inter-caste marriages are performed under this Act.
- This Act is applicable to the entire territory of India (excluding the state of Jammu and Kashmir) and extends to intending spouses who are both Indian nationals living abroad.
- The marriage performed under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 is a civil contract and accordingly, there need be no rites or ceremonial requirements
- The parties have to file a Notice of Intended Marriage in the specified form to the Marriage Registrar of the district in which at least one of the parties to the marriage has resided for a period of not less than thirty days immediately preceding the date on which such notice is given
- After the expiration of thirty days from the date on which notice of an intended marriage has been published, the marriage may be solemnised, unless it has been objected to by any person.
- The marriage may be solemnised at the specified Marriage Office
- Marriage is not binding on the parties unless each party states “I, (A), take thee (B), to be my lawful wife (or husband),” in the presence of the Marriage Officer and three witnesses.
Conditions for marriage
- Each party involved should have no other subsisting valid marriage. In other words, the resulting marriage should be monogamous for both parties.
- The bridegroom must be at least 21 years old; the bride must be at least 18 years old
- The parties should be competent in regards to their mental capacity to the extent that they are able to give valid consent for the marriage.
- The parties should not fall within the degree of prohibited relationship.
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The Special Marriage Act of 1954 is a landmark legislation in India that allows couples to marry without any religious or social restrictions. This Act was introduced to provide a secular form of marriage that is not bound by any religious or social customs. It is a progressive law that allows couples to marry without any discrimination based on caste, religion, or social status.
The Special Marriage Act of 1954 is applicable to all citizens of India, regardless of their religion, caste, or social status. It allows couples to register their marriage under the Act and obtain a marriage certificate. The Act also provides for the registration of marriages that have already taken place.
The Special Marriage Act of 1954 is a progressive law that has helped to reduce the discrimination faced by couples who wish to marry outside of their religion or caste. It has also helped to reduce the stigma associated with inter-caste and inter-religious marriages. This Act has been instrumental in promoting gender equality and social justice in India.
The Special Marriage Act of 1954 is a revolutionary law in India that allows couples to marry without any religious or social restrictions. This Act was introduced to provide a secular form of marriage that is not bound by any religious or social customs
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is an act of the Parliament of India which governs marriages that are not governed by personal laws, such as the Hindu Marriage Act or Muslim Personal Law. The act provides for the solemnization of marriages, registration of marriages, and divorce.
Here are some of the key provisions of the Special Marriage Act, of 1954:
Conditions for a valid marriage: According to the act, a marriage under this act is valid if both parties are of marriageable age, they are not within the prohibited degrees of relationship, they are not already married, and they are capable of giving valid consent to the marriage.
Notice of intended marriage: Before getting married, the parties must give notice of their intended marriage to the Marriage Officer of the district where at least one of the parties has resided for at least 30 days prior to giving the notice.
Objections to the marriage: After the notice is given, it is published by the Marriage Officer for 30 days. If there are no objections, the Marriage Officer may proceed with the solemnization of the marriage.
Registration of marriage: The act provides for the registration of marriages under this act. A marriage can be registered at any time after the wedding has taken place.
Divorce: The act provides for divorce on several grounds, including adultery, cruelty, desertion, conversion to another religion, unsoundness of mind, and incurable diseases. The act also provides for mutual consent divorce, where both parties agree to divorce.
Maintenance: The act provides for the maintenance of spouses after divorce or separation, as well as the maintenance of children.
Overall, the Special Marriage Act, of 1954 provides for the legal framework governing marriages in India that are not governed by personal laws and outlines the rights and obligations of spouses. It is an important law for couples who do not wish to be governed by personal laws or who belong to different religions.