Marriages symbolize the union of two hearts with love and affection, lawfully. Striking out all the cases, creed, religion, and other factors, court marriages are quite different from other traditional marriages. In the case of court marriages, the wedding takes place in a court in the presence of the marriage registrar and the witnesses.
Unlike traditional marriages, court marriages neglect traditions and other rituals. In India, either the Marriage Act of 1954 or the Special Marriage Act controls court marriages. Nowadays, many people opt for court marriages. However, they too have many procedures associated with them.
The Hindu Marriage Act comes into force when both parties are Hindus. Whereas, if both parties are from different religions, the Special Marriage Act comes forward.
Procedure for court marriage:
The following are the procedures involved in a court marriage:
Step-1: Notice of intended marriage:
The initial step is the notice of the intended marriage. The parties have to send a written notice to the marriage registrar regarding their plans.
Either the bride or groom must reside in the district where the marriage registrar resides. This notice is sent 30 days before the date of marriage. The above said notice must prescribe with the provisions of Section 5 of the Special Marriage Act.
Step-2: Displaying the notice:
The marriage registrar may now display a copy of the marriage notice in his place. This is done to check whether anyone has any objection to the marriage. As the process tries to account for proper and genuine reasons, such a display process might take a while.
Step 3: Objection to the marriage:
According to Section 7 of the Special Marriage Acts, anyone can stand against the marriage. However, such an objection might be raised within 30 days of the publication of the notice. If the reasons are genuine and proper, the marriage registrar may annul or reject the marriage proposal.
If the marriage registrar is not convinced with the reasons raised, and in favour of the marrying parties, he/ she may neglect the reasons and resume the marriage process.
Step 4: Declaration:
After 30 days of publishing such a notice, if no one raises an objection the next process takes place. In the presence of the marriage registrar, the couples and their three witnesses must sign the forms.
Step 5: Solemnization:
As per Section 12 of the Special Marriage Acts, the couple may proceed with the wedding procedure. The solemnization of court marriages may take place in the marriage registrar’s office or someplace nearby.
Solemnization online is another alternative that people can opt for in case they do not wish to travel to the registrar’s office. Under Schedule IV of the Special Marriage Act, all the details about the court marriage are entered in the court marriage certificate by the marriage registrar.
Relevant people can apply to the Marriage Registrar to get a marriage certificate. The marriage certificate serves as a document that proves the marriage has taken place without any objections, and with proper evidence. The court marriage process may take up to 1-2 months of duration.
Documents required for court marriage
The following documents are necessary to conduct a court marriage:
Documents required by the couple:
Marriage application signed by the couple
Birth certificate or passport
Aadhar card/ voter card/ Driving licence/ ration card
The bride and groom must submit the following affidavit particulars:
Date of Birth
Marital status (if unmarried/ divorced or widowed)
Affirmation statement stating that the two parties are not related to each other under the prohibited degree of relationships
Passport size photographs
Divorcees must submit a copy of the divorce decree
Widowers must submit a copy of the divorce decree
Who can witness the court marriage?
Along with the bride and groom, and the marriage registrar, three witnesses must be present while the court marriage takes place. The witnesses may be friends or family.
Documents required for the witnesses:
The following documents must be carried by the witnesses who witness the court marriage:
Passport size photo
Aadhar card or any identification document
Frequently Asked Questions:
Here are frequently asked questions about what are the procedures in a court marriage?
1. How long does it take to complete the process of court marriage?
Court marriages may take up to 60 days to complete the procedures.
2. How many witnesses are needed to witness court marriage?
At least three witnesses are required to serve as witnesses for the court marriage. Witnesses may include friends or family members.
3. What is the minimum age for court marriage in India?
The minimum age for a woman is 18 years and for men, it is 21 years.
4. Is it compulsory that the forms need to be filled manually?
No, the forms can be filled out by the groom and bride online as well.
5. Where will the court marriage take place?
The court marriage takes place in the marriage registrar’s office or at a place nearby.