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In earlier times, as depicted in old Bollywood movies, lovers used to run away to get married. The clichéd plot of parents against the couple getting married due to economic imbalance, vengeful history, etc, etc. never allowed the lead couple to marry.
Ultimately, after running either they'd go to a temple or consider a court procedure for marriage.
Surprisingly one can comment that court marriage was shown to be a "love marriage procedure".
Haha, so much for movies!
Well, coming back to the real world, the solemnization of the marriage procedure in court takes place without any bar to their caste, religion or creed.
Court marriages in India give an opportunity to an Indian Male and Indian Female, or even one of them being a foreign citizen to wed each other.
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.
Special Marriage Act, 1954 provides for the rules and documents required under the process of court marriage.
To know more about your court marriage procedure, opt for instant expert legal consultation online from the top civil lawyers at MyAdvo.
Table of Contents:
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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 presence of three witnesses.
One needs no customary celebration to solemnize the wedding in case of court marriage in India to be valid. The court wedding procedure in the presence of marriage registrar and witnesses is sufficient.
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 to have Indian nationality court marriage can be done by an Indian national with a foreign national. Persons of two different gender either belonging to 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. These conditions are as follows:
There should be no pre-existing marriage of either male or female unless the previous spouse is not living or the divorce has been obtained from the previous spouse.
The parties must have given free consent for court marriage i.e., none of the party to the court marriage to 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.
To understand related subjects and topics, we have simplified legal terms, processes and acts in MyAdvo blogs. Make sure you give it a read!
Documents Required for Court Marriage in India
You need certain documents 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 for the procedure to do court marriage from both the prospective bride and groom:
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 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, it is allowed to marry in 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 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.
What is the Procedure of Court Marriage in India?
The Indian marriage process in court can be broadly divided into the six steps.
Court marriage procedure has given under Chapter II of the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Know Court Marriage Procedure in India step by step here.
Step 1: Notice of Intended Marriage
The first step of the court marriage is the 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 to court marriage or love marriage process resides for a minimum of 30 days before sending the notice.
Step 2: Publishing of Notice
The notice so sent to the office of marriage registrar shall be published by the marriage officer by affixing it to the place in his office which is clearly visible and should keep 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 office in whose jurisdiction the parties resides 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 marriage registrar.
If the marriage registrar finds that the objection raised is correct, then he/she will end the process for court marriage in India. 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 their 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 marriage registrar or any other place at a reasonable distance. You can also solemnize your procedure of marriage by filling up the form online. The court marriage online process includes the payment 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 the Schedule IV of the Special Marriage Act. The court marriage certificate is the proof of a valid marriage of the parties after the signatures of parties and witnesses.
If you are wondering, that these steps are lengthy and a bit confusing, well, you can take our help as well. After all, at MyAdvo, we believe in making legal simple for you. We do it by educating you on various legal topics.
Further Read: Prenuptial Agreements in India
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 that is 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 the 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 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, 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. Here 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.
The foreign national to do court marriage in India 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.
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 for the court marriage is uniform for all the persons with no bar to any religion.
Every law updates itself with time to time, and till now, one can see constant updates in various acts and sections of the Indian law.
However, uniformity has been maintained in the Court Marriage Process, but if any changes occur, you can count on MyAdvo News!
Related Read: Marriage Laws in India
Court Marriage Fees
Court marriage fees are different in different states. One can even check the court marriage fees online.
Generally, the 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 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 the court marriage procedure are as follows:
Dates for court marriage are dependent upon 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, but allotting the 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.
Though the process of applying for court marriage is even online, still one has to appear before the marriage registrar for solemnization of marriage. Also, the online portals don't work in every part of the country.
One requires to give the notice of marriage to the office of marriage registrar in whose jurisdiction the parties to the marriage have been residing for a minimum of 30 days. 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 marriage certificate is beneficial.
After court marriage procedure is solemnized, there is no need to re-apply in court. The marriage registration process is complete here 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.
Suggested Read: Legal Notice under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act
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 you guide in submitting the documents in proper formats as per the court marriage process, 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.