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A Step by Step Guide to Court Marriage in India

Court Marriage is the solemnization of marriage between a male and a female who are eligible to marry without any bar to their caste, religion, or creed in front of a court, a marriage officer and in the presence of three witnesses, thereby doing away with the customs and rituals of a traditional marriage.

Court Marriage is in accordance with the provisions of Special Marriage Act, 1954 which provides for:

  • The Court Marriage age
  • The prerequisite condition of Court Marriage
  • Documents required for a Court Marriage
  • Court Marriage fees and the entire Court Marriage process

  • Prerequisites for Court Marriage:

    • Both parties should not have a subsisting marriage at the time of Court Marriage.
    • The bridegroom should have completed twenty-one (21) years of age and bride should have completed eighteen (18) years of age.
    • The parties to the marriage must be mentally fit, not suffering from any persistent bouts of insanity.
    • The consent to the marriage should free and valid and not obtained under any coercion or undue influence.
    • The parties should not come within the degree of prohibited relationship.
       
  • Documentation required for registration of Court marriage:

    • The marriage application form duly signed by bride and groom.
    • Passport size photographs of both parties
    • Residential address proof – Voter card/Ration card/Aadhar card/ Driving License
    • Date of birth proof of both parties – Birth certificate/class 10th certificate/ passport
    • Receipt of fees paid along with the application form
    • Affidavit one each from bride and groom
    • In case of a divorcee, a certified copy of divorce decree/order of the court.
    • In case of a widow/widower, death certificate of the spouse.
    • Details of the three witnesses
       
  • The affidavit of both bride and groom for the Court marriage must contain the following information:

    •  Date of birth
    • Marital Status whether married, divorced or widowed
    • A statement affirming that the parties are not related to each other under the prohibited degree of relationships
    • 2 passport size photographs of both bride and groom
    • Copy of divorce decree/order in case of a divorcee and death certificate of spouse in case of widow/widower
       
  • Witnesses to the Court Marriage

    There must be three witnesses for the solemnization of valid Court Marriage. Any person such as a family friend, family member, friend, colleague can be a witness to a Court Marriage.
    Following documents are required for Court Marriage from witnesses:
    • Residential proof of the witnesses
    • PAN card of the witness
    • One passport size photograph of each witness
    • Any identification document of the witness (driving license, aadhar card, etc)
       
  • Fees incurred:
    The Court Marriage fees differ from state to state. Generally the feed is between Rs. 500 to Rs. 1000, but the fees may also go beyond the cap so it is always advisable to check the feed while filling in the online application form for Court Marriage. Every state has a different fee structure for solemnization of Court Marriage.
     
  • Time taken for the complete procedure:

    • Generally the entire procedure for the solemnization of Court Marriage takes 30-60 days.
    • After the publication of notice of intention, a time period of 30 days is given for any objection to be raised against the marriage, if any, by the Marriage officer and if any objection is raised within that period, an inquiry period of 30 days is allotted for the Marriage Officer.
    • If the marriage is not solemnized within 3 months from the date of notice, then a fresh notice has to be given by the parties to the Marriage Officer.
       
  • Procedure for Court Marriage in India:

    • Step 1 – Notice of intended marriage

      A written notice of intended marriage has to be given by one of the parties to the marriage, in accordance with the provisions of the Section 5 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, to the Marriage Registrar within the area of Residence of the party making such application. Provided that the party must have resided in that area for not less than 30 days immediately prior to the date of filling of the said application.
       
    • Step 2 – Publication of the Notice

      The notice sent to the Marriage Registrar shall be published by the Marriage officer by affixing it to a place in his office which is clearly visible.
       
      Note: If the notice of intended marriage is sent to the wrong office of marriage registrar then the same shall be forwarded by him to the officer in whose jurisdiction the parties reside.
       
    • Step 3 – Objection to Marriage

      According to Section 7 of the Special Marriage Act, during the period of 30 days of publication of the notice, any person who has an objection to the marriage can raise their objection. Thereafter the marriage registrar is allotted an inquiry period of 30 days to check whether the objection raised is correct or not. If the objection raised is correct and justified then the process of intended marriage will be terminated. If the objection raised is incorrect and unjustified then the Court marriage registration procedure will be proceeded with.
       
      Note:
      If the objection to the marriage registration is sustained by the marriage registrar then the parties can file an appeal with the district court against the order of Marriage registrar.
       
    • Step 4 - Declaration by Parties

      Before the solemnization of Court Marriage the parties to the marriage along with the three witnesses have to submit a Court Marriage Form stating their free consent to the marriage, in the presence of the marriage registrar.
       
    • Step 5 - Place of Solemnization of marriage

      According to Section 12 of the Special Marriage Act On the date of solemnization of marriage both the parties along with their three witnesses have to be present in the office of Marriage registrar.
       
    • Step 6 - Marriage Certificate

      The marriage certificate is issued by the marriage registrar in accordance with the provisions of Schedule IV of the Special Marriage Act, to the parties concerned. The marriage certificate issued is a proof of valid marriage.
       
      Note:
      The marriage application form can be filled online. The marriage certificate can be downloaded online.

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