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Court Marriage Procedure in India Online (Step-By-Step)

Court Marriage Procedure in India is relatively simple. To know the entire process of court marriage in India, there are certain legal formalities required to be performed that we've mentioned below. The legal marriage process for marrying a foreign national in India as well as an inter caste court marriage procedure is explained in the steps below.
Written by:
Antim Amlan
Published on
9th Sep, 2019

The solemnization of marriage procedure in courts takes place without any bar to their caste, religion, or creed. Court marriage procedure in India takes six easy and simple steps. Court marriage is in accordance with the provisions of the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

The Act 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

The Special Marriage Act, 1954 provides for the rules and documents required under the process of court marriage.

What is the Procedure of Court Marriage in India?

The procedure for court marriage in India can be broadly divided into six steps.

Step 1: Notice of Intended Marriage

The first step of court marriage is acquiring notice of the intended marriage. The said notice has to be in accordance with the provisions of Section 5 of the Special Marriage Act. You have to send a written notice mandatorily to the marriage registrar showing the intention of the parties to marry each other. One needs to send the notice to the office of marriage registrar, in whose district either of the party resides for a minimum of 30 days before sending the notice.

Step 2: Publishing of Notice

The notice sent to the office of the marriage registrar shall be published by the marriage officer by affixing it to a place in his office which is clearly visible while keeping the original copy of the notice in his notice book. If the notice of intention to marry is sent to the wrong office of marriage registrar then he shall forward the same to the officer in whose jurisdiction the parties reside so that the notice can be affixed at the right place.

Step 3: Objection to Marriage

Section 7 of the Special Marriage Act states that any person who has an objection to the marriage so intended can raise the objection within 30 days from the date of publication of notice by the marriage registrar. If the marriage registrar finds that the objection raised is correct, then he/she will end the process for the intended court marriage. But if he/she finds that the objection is unjustified, then he/she will proceed with the court marriage registration procedure. However, if the marriage registrar sustains the objection, then the parties can file an appeal with the district court against the order of marriage officer/registrar for completing the process of court marriage in India.

Step 4: Declaration by Parties and Witnesses

The next step as provided in the court marriage rules is the declaration by parties and witnesses. Before the court marriage is finalised, the court marriage form has to be signed by the parties along with three witnesses declaring that the parties are doing the marriage with free consent. The declaration court marriage form has to be signed in the presence of the marriage registrar.

Step 5: Place and Form of Solemnization

Section 12 of the Special Marriage Act states that the solemnization of court marriage can take place at the office of the marriage registrar or any other place at a reasonable distance. You can also solemnize your procedure of marriage by filling up the form online. Court marriage application online includes the payment procedure of court marriage fees to complete it.

Step 6: Procedure for Marriage Certificate

Once the solemnization of the marriage takes place according to the rules and regulations of court marriage, the marriage registrar enters the details of the marriage, in the marriage certificate in accordance with Schedule IV of the Special Marriage Act. The court marriage certificate is proof of a valid marriage statement signed by the parties and their witnesses.

The Process of Court Marriage under the Special Marriage Act

The Special Marriage Act, 1954 lays down the concept of Hindu Court Marriage procedure in India as well. This allows people to complete the civil marriage procedure as follows:

  • Submit the notice/application to the Sub Registrar or Marriage Officer

  • The notice shall be published in the prescribed offices for 30 days

  • Registration will be issued only if no objection is received from any person

  • In case of objection, an enquiry will be conducted and only after the conclusion, a registration certificate will be issued

  • The laws relating to marriage are laid down under personal laws of the religion to which a person belongs

  • However, there is an option of court marriage for the people who don't wish to get married in accordance with the religious rites or who belong to different religions or if one of them is a foreign national

Procedure for Court Marriage in India as a Foreign National

Before proceeding with this type of court marriage in India, the whole process includes firstly to ensure eligibility of the persons getting married. You should have all the requisite documents in place before filing the court marriage application with the Registrar. To solemnize procedures for court marriage between a foreign national and an Indian citizen under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, one needs to keep the following points in mind:

  • The laws of the nation to which the foreign national belongs, must not be in conflict with the Indian Laws

  • In order for the foreign national to do court marriage in India, he/she must have a valid passport and visa

  • N.O.C or Marital status certificate from the concerned Embassy or Consulate

A civil lawyer in India can help with the legal proceedings of such a court marriage in India.

What is Court Marriage?

Court Marriages in India are different than the traditional marriages as they take place in court in the presence of a marriage officer without following the traditions in a customary marriage. In a court marriage, two individuals who are eligible to marry can proceed to marry each other in the presence of three witnesses. One does not need a customary celebration to solemnize the wedding in case of court marriage in India to be valid. The procedure of court marriage can take place in the presence of a marriage registrar and witnesses.

The only condition is, it should satisfy the essentials of the Special Marriage Act, 1954. It is not necessary for court marriage that both the parties be of Indian nationality. Court marriage can be done by an Indian national with a foreign national. Persons of two different gender either belonging to the same or different religion can marry each other through court marriage.

Prerequisites for Court Marriage Rules and Regulations

Court marriage rules and regulations provide for the conditions which one needs to fulfil before going ahead with the court marriage process. These court marriage rules are given under Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act as well. The parties have to meet the essential conditions prescribed in the act before mutually entering or signing the Civil Marriage Contract. The conditions are as follows:

  • There should be no pre-existing marriage for either the male or female unless the previous spouse is not living or divorce has been obtained from the previous spouse.

  • The parties must have given free consent for court marriage i.e., none of the parties intending to do court marriage should be incompetent of giving valid consent due to unsound mind or any other factor.

  • The parties must be eligible to marry i.e., they should be of court marriage age. The court marriage age for a boy is 21 years and the court marriage age for a girl is 18 years.

  • Also, neither of the party should be unfit for marriage or procreation of children.

  • The parties to the marriage should not be related to each other under the prohibited degrees of marriage as provided in Schedule I of the Act. Unless it's valid in the customs or traditions of the religion of any of the two parties.

Documents Required for Court Marriage in India

You need certain documents for completing the legal marriage process in court. Without these documents, the solemnization of the marriage process in India is not possible.

One requires the following documents from both the prospective bride and groom for the procedure of court marriage:

  • Application form duly signed by both bride and groom

  • Receipt of fees paid along with the application form

  • Date of birth proof of both bride and groom (Class 10th Certificate/Passport/Birth Certificate)

  • Residential address proof ( Aadhar Card/Voter Card/Ration Card/Driving Licence)

  • Affidavit one each from both bride and groom.

The affidavit about court marriage must contain the following court marriage information:

  • Date of birth

  • Marital status whether unmarried, 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

Witness Document Required for Court Marriage

Following documents are required for court marriage from the witness:

  • One passport size photograph each from the three witnesses to the marriage.

  • PAN card of the witnesses.

  • An identification document of the witnesses such as Driving Licence, Aadhar Card, etc.

Exceptions and other Conditions in the Procedure for Court Marriage

The eligibility criteria for court marriage has certain exceptions. However, the marriage is prohibited between the prohibited degrees of relationship but the marriage can be solemnized between the prohibited degree of relationship if your custom allows the same.

  • Even if in the custom of one party to the marriage is allowed to marry in the prohibited relation, then also this exception will be applicable

  • If the marriage has to be done in the state of Jammu & Kashmir then it is mandatory that both the parties to the marriage must be Indian citizens. It simply means that there is no procedure to get married in court with foreign nationals in the state of Jammu & Kashmir

  • For a foreign national to marry under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 they have to live in India for at least 30 days. They must have a residence proof as well

  • In case they do not have Indian residence proof, they can get the same from the local police station in whose jurisdiction they are living

Uniformity of Court Marriage Process in India

Special Marriage Act is a secular act which is applicable to the persons of all religions uniformly. Thus, the procedure of court marriage is uniform for all the persons with no bar to any religion. Every law updates itself from time to time, and till now, one can see constant updates in various acts and sections of the Indian law. 

Court Marriage Fees

Court marriage fees are different in different states. Generally, court marriage procedure fees are between Rs 500 to Rs 1000. But it is always advisable to check the fees while filling in the online application for court marriage.

One needs to attach the court marriage documents along with fees for completing the court marriage registration form. 

Complications Involved in Indian Court Marriage Process

One thing which is feasible about Indian court marriage procedure is that the process of the court is a relatively simple one in comparison to the customary marriages, which start from filling an online application for court marriage till the registration of court marriage.

Despite it being the simple and easy way of marrying your loved one, there are certain complexities in a court marriage which often pops up the question - how to do court marriage in your mind?

The few complications which are involved in a court marriage procedure are as follows:

  • Dates for court marriage are dependent upon the marriage registrar as to what date will he allot for appointment to come in person for solemnization of court marriage of the intended parties.

  • Even if there is an emergency for an early date, allotting an early date isn't possible. As one has to give the date 30 days before from the date of publication of the notice. This is to see if anyone raises objections or not.

  • If there is an objection, then it can delay the process for court marriage till the marriage officer decides on this objection.

  • If in case the process of applying for court marriage is online, one has to appear before the marriage registrar for solemnization of marriage. Also, online portals don't work in every part of the country.

  • One requires to give the notice of marriage to the office of the marriage registrar in whose jurisdiction the parties to the marriage have been residing for a minimum of 30 days. It is such that you can't go anywhere else for completing the marriage process in India.

  • The documents required, the fees to be paid and the persons appointed as Marriage Officers differ from place to place. It is generally as per the rules framed by the respective States.

  • If the solemnization of marriage doesn't take place within 3 months from the date of the notice of marriage, then you have to give a fresh notice to the marriage officer for solemnizing the procedure of marriage.

 Advantages of Court Marriage

Court marriage has the following advantages:

  • It is a simple and cost-effective process.

  • The court marriage certificate is the conclusive proof of the marriage.

  • For obtaining a visa for the spouse, a marriage certificate is beneficial.

  • After court marriage procedure is solemnized, there is no need to re-apply in court. The marriage registration process is completed in one go.

  • The court marriage certificate also allows the dependent spouse to claim the bank deposit or life insurance benefits. Especially, in case of demise of the insurer or policy-holder.

Do you need to engage with a lawyer for Court Marriage?

The answer depends on the understanding of the court marriage registration procedure by the people marrying each other.

Although it's not mandatory, however, you should consider a lawyer who can resolve any forthcoming legal issues. He/She can help guide you in submitting the documents in proper formats as per the court marriage process in India.

Also, if there is any apprehension of objection, at that time, hiring a lawyer would be a wise move. He/She can help you in filing appeals or fighting your case in the court on valid legal points.

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External Links:

[1] Special Marriage Act, 1954 - An Act to provide a special form of marriage in certain cases, for the registration of such and certain other marriages and for divorce.

[2] Court Marriage Registration Form - An Online Form for Court Marriage & Registration issued by Government of India.