Updated on: Oct 21st, 2022
7 min read
In India, a court marriage means a marriage solemnised under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (‘Act’). A couple belonging to any caste, religion or nationality can solemnise the court marriage in the presence of a marriage officer and three witnesses. The marriage officer is usually the Sub-Registrar appointed under the Act.
A court marriage takes place as per the procedure laid down in the Act and is common across the nation. The marriage officer performs the marriage without discrimination based on caste, creed or religion. It is a marriage solemnised according to law. The bride and the bridegroom can directly submit a court marriage application to the marriage officer to get their marriage certificate. The court marriage can be registered in the office of the marriage officer in whose area/jurisdiction the bride or bridegroom resides.
The marriage officer can solemnise a court marriage between the bride and the bridegroom under the Act if the following conditions are fulfilled at the time of marriage:
The documents required to be submitted by the couple along with the court marriage application are as follows:
The documents required to be submitted by all the witnesses are as follows:
Step 1-Notice of marriage
The parties (bride and the bridegroom) must give the court marriage application form, i.e. notice of the intended marriage, to the marriage officer. The notice of the intended marriage should be given as prescribed in the second schedule of the Act before 30 days of the intended marriage date. It should be given to the marriage officer in whose area either party to the marriage has continuously lived for 30 days or more.
Step 2-Publication of the notice
The marriage officer will publish the notice of the intended marriage submitted by the parties by affixing it in a conspicuous place in the office of the marriage officer. After it is published, any person can object to the marriage within 30 days of its publication. If there is no objection, the marriage officer will perform the marriage after the expiry of 30 days of the notice publication.
Step 3- Objection to marriage, if any
Anybody can object to the court marriage within 30 days of the publication of the notice of the intended marriage. A person can submit an objection for marriage to the marriage officer on the grounds that the marriage violates any conditions required for the court marriage. However, the objection to the marriage should be on a legal basis and not on a personal basis. The marriage officer must enquire about the objection within 30 days of the receipt of the objection. After enquiring about the objection, the marriage officer can solemnise the marriage when it does not violate any conditions for marriage.
Step 4- Declaration by parties and witnesses
When there is no objection to the marriage or the marriage officer dismisses the objection, the parties must appear before the marriage officer and submit a declaration. The parties to the marriage and three witnesses are required to submit the declaration as prescribed in the third schedule of the Act in the presence of the marriage officer. The marriage officer will also countersign the declaration.
Step 5 – Place of marriage
The marriage can take place at the office of the marriage officer or another place within a reasonable distance which the parties choose. If the parties select another place to solemnise the marriage, they must pay the additional fees as prescribed. The marriage can be solemnised in any form the parties choose to adopt.
Step 6- Certificate of marriage
The marriage officer will give the marriage certificate after solemnising the marriage. Both the parties to the marriage and three witnesses must sign the marriage certificate. The marriage certificate is conclusive evidence of the marriage. The marriage officer will enter the details of the marriage in the marriage certificate book.
The parties should pay the court marriage fee to the office of the marriage officer. The court marriage fee differs from state to state. Generally, court marriage fees range between Rs.500 to Rs.1,000.
Court marriage is a marriage solemnised by the marriage officer. Thus, it is a legal marriage binding on the bride and the bridegroom. The marriage certificate issued by the marriage officer is proof of the marriage.
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