Court Marriage Process In India – Fees, Documents Required and Process

By Mayashree Acharya

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Updated on: Oct 21st, 2022

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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.

Introduction

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.

Conditions for Court Marriage

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 bride and the bridegroom do not have a living spouse
  • The bride and the bridegroom: 
    • is not incapable of giving valid consent to the marriage due to unsoundness of mind
    • though capable of giving valid consent, is not suffering from a mental disorder of such a kind or such an extent which makes him/her unfit for marriage and procreation of children
    • has not been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity 
  • The bridegroom has completed 21 years, and the bride has completed 18 years
  • The bride and the bridegroom are not within the degrees of a prohibited relationship 

Documents Required for Court Marriage in India

The documents required to be submitted by the couple along with the court marriage application are as follows:

  • Separate affidavits from the bride and bridegroom containing the following details:
    • Date of birth
    • Marital status – widower/unmarried/divorcee
    • Affirmation that the couple are not related to one another within the degree of prohibited relationship
  • Passport-size photos of the bride and bridegroom
  • Residential proof of the bride and bridegroom 
  • Proof of date of birth of the bride and bridegroom 
  • Copy of the notice of the intended marriage signed by the couple
  • Copy of divorce order, in the case of a divorcee and death certificate of a spouse, in case of a widower/widow

The documents required to be submitted by all the witnesses are as follows:

  • Passport size photo
  • Copy of PAN card
  • Copy of identity proof

Procedure for Court Marriage in India

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. 

Court Marriage Fee

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.

Advantages of Court Marriage

  • Economical marriage with a simple procedure
  • Saves the vast expenses of wedding rituals and ceremonies
  • Parties to the marriage can solemnise the marriage in any way they want
  • Ensures the consent of both the parties

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.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

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Quick Summary

In India, a court marriage is conducted under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, where couples can marry irrespective of caste, religion, or nationality. The marriage officer performs the marriage following certain conditions and procedures. Documents like affidavits, photos, and proofs are required. The couple needs to give notice of marriage, face possible objections, declare marriage intent before the officer, choose the venue, and receive the marriage certificate.

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