India is a secular country. In order to achieve secularism; the parliament enacted the special marriage act 1954 to regulate marriages between persons belonging to different religions, or castes. The Special marriage act permits any man and woman to marry without any restriction based on caste or religion.
The following are the essentials of a valid marriage under special marriage act:
1. A party to the marriage should not have a living spouse.
2. A party to the marriage should not be incapable of giving valid consent, in consequence of unsoundness of mind.
3. A party to the marriage should not be suffering from a mental disorder which makes him or her unfit for marriage and procreation of children.
4. A party to the marriage should not be subjected to recurrent attacks of insanity.
5. The male should have completed the age of 21 years and the female should have completed the age of 18 years.
6. The parties should not come within the degrees of prohibited relationship. However, if the custom governing them permits such a marriage. A valid marriage can be solemnised.
7. If the marriage is solemnised outside, India both the parties should be Indian citizens domiciled in the country where it is solemnised.
8. A marriage solemnised in contravention of the above conditions shall be void.
In order to solemnise a marriage under special marriage act, a notice of the intended marriage is to be given to the marriage officer (sub-registrar)in writing. The marriage officer has to make entries of the contents of such notice in a book prescribed for the purpose called the marriage notice book. A copy of the notice has also to be affixed on the notice board. Any person can raise an objection to the proposed marriage on the ground that the marriage is in violation of the essential conditions. If any objection is preferred within 30 days from the date of publication of the notice, the marriage officer shall conduct an enquiry and pass an appropriate order. If the marriage officer finds that the objection is genuine, the marriage shall not b solemnised. If it is found that the objection is unreasonable, the marriage officer can impose a cost upon the objector by way of compensation. The divorce lawyers in India solving such kind of matters.
If the marriage officer upholds the objection, the parties have a right to appeal to the district court. The appeal is to be filed within 30 days from the date of the order of the marriage officer.
A marriage can be solemnised only after 30 days from the date of publication of the notice . There must be three witnesses for the marriage. Both the parties and witnesses should appear before the marriage officer and sign a declaration in the specified form and the declaration shall be countersigned by the marriage officer.
If a marriage is solemnised under the Act, the marriage officer shall enter a certificate of marriage in the marriage certificate book. The marriage certificate shall be signed by the parties. When the certificate is entered in the book it shall become the conclusive proofs of the marriage.
If a marriage is registered under the Act, the law of succession applicable to them will be the provisions of the Indian succession of the India succession Act. However, if both the parties are Hindus, the law of succession applicable will be the Hindu Succession Act.
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