There are many reasons why a court marriage is chosen. Some individuals may not want to spend money on a lavish Indian wedding, others may belong to opposing faiths, making this a neutral ceremony, and still others may be marrying against the wishes of their families. The solemnization of the marriage relies heavily on a court marriage witness.
An interfaith couple approached the Delhi High Court in October 2020 with a request to amend the Special Marriage Act of 1954. The marriage officer must first give a 30-day public notice before interfaith marriages can be registered under this Act. The couple has pleaded that such notices occasionally cause interfaith couples to receive threats to their lives. According to them, the purpose of this procedure is to discourage interfaith marriages like theirs, which they claim is discriminatory.
No matter the circumstances, the couple must have three court marriage witnesses in order to have their marriage solemnized at the marriage registrar’s office. These could be friends, family, colleagues, or even members of the same family. If they have three witnesses present during the exchange of vows and while signing the marriage register, the couple can proceed with the marriage despite objections from their parents as long as they have attained the legal age of 21 for the groom and 18 for the bride.
Conditions for Marrying
Neither party should be in a legal marriage with anyone else. This means that they should either be single at the time of the marriage or have a divorce, in which case they should present a certificate stating this.
The bride must be at least 18 years old, and the groom must be 21 years old.
The parties shouldn’t be irrational. To put it another way, the individual shouldn’t have any mental illness or be in a state where they don’t know what they’re doing.
The parties shouldn’t be in a relationship that isn’t allowed. They shouldn’t be related to each other or be in a relationship that isn’t allowed. If that is the case, it will be cause for the marriage to end. However, a marriage under a prohibited relationship may be solemnized if either party’s custom permits it.
Relationships with paternal and maternal cousins are included in the prohibited relationships listed in Schedules I and II of the Act. Different religions have different perspectives.
Marriage with second cousins is against Hindu law because they are considered sapindas. However, such a union is not prohibited by the special marriage act.
Marriage between paternal and maternal cousins is permitted under Muslim law.
Marriage between cousins is permitted under Christian law if the Church permits it.
The Special Marriage Act of 1954 allows for interreligious marriages to take place without violating any individual laws.
Also know more: Court Marriage Registration Fees
The role of a court marriage witness in the process
The witness appears in the picture after the couple submits a notice of intended marriage to the district’s marriage registrar in the specified format. Prior to the date on which such a notice is given, at least one other party to the marriage must have resided for at least 30 days. The court examines all of the documents to determine whether they are legal candidates for marriage. After that, it posts or publishes a notice asking for objections.
When there are no objections to the marriage and the bride and groom are present at the marriage registrar’s office to sign a declaration accepting each other as their legally. The declaration must be countersigned by the registrar of marriages and signed by three witnesses in front of the registrar.
The witness must not only observe the procedure but also sign the documents and provide their PAN card and proof of residence. After the declaration has been signed by the bride, groom, witnesses, and registrar, the registrar will enter the information into the marriage registration online certificate register. After that, he or she will issue a certificate of marriage, which serves as sole evidence of the marriage’s solemnization.
It is acceptable if the bride and groom are not married yet and are of legal age. Witnessing a marriage in court will not raise any legal issues. However, the witness may be called to testify if the bride or groom is a minor in accordance with the law, is not properly divorced from a previous marriage.
In point of fact, if one of the couples is a minor, the other couple, who are over the legal age, and the witnesses may be charged with a crime. The witness in a court marriage could end up in legal trouble if one party violated any or all of the conditions.
Also, if one of the spouses wants to prove that they are married and the status of their marriage becomes a point of contention later on, the court may summon the marriage or wedding witness on the request of the party.