Court marriages in India are different from regular and traditional marriages as they take a position in court in the presence of a marriage administrator or officer without following the traditions in a customary marriage. A court marriage is the solemnization of marriage between persons who would like to marry without any hindrance to their religion, caste, or creed in front of a court, a marriage magistrate and in the presence of three witnesses. You don’t require a customary ceremony to solemnize your wedding in a court marriage in India.
It should satisfy the requirements of the Special Marriage Act, 1954. It is not important for a court marriage that both individuals be of Indian origin or nationality. A court marriage can be entered into by an Indian national with a foreign national. Persons of two distinct genders, either from the same or different religions, can marry each other in a court marriage.
A Court Marriage Certificate is as per the requirements of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 which outlines:
- The required age
- The essential requirements of court marriage
- Documents required for a court marriage
- Court marriage charges and the entire process
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 provides for the rules and records expected under the process of a court marriage.
Prerequisites of a Court Marriage
Court Marriage Registration rules and regulations outline the requirements which one needs to satisfy before going forward with the court marriage process. These court marriage laws are provided under Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act as well. The individuals have to satisfy the necessary requirements directed in the act before mutually entering into the civil marriage contract. The provisions are as follows:
- No pre-existing marriage: there should be no pre-existing marriage for both the male or female except if there is a documented divorce or the previous spouse is no longer alive.
- Valid approval: the parties must have provided free permission for court marriage, i.e., none of the individuals planning to enter into a court marriage should be incapable of providing valid consent due to weakness of mind or any additional factor.
- Age: the individuals must be able to marry, i.e., they should be of court marriage age. The court marriage age for a woman is 18 years and the court marriage age for a man is 21.
- Restricted degrees of relationships: the parties to the marriage should not be associated with each other under the prohibited terms of marriage as given in Schedule I of the Act. However, when a custom ruling at least one of the individuals allows the marriage within the parties, then such a marriage may be observed irrespective of the relationship falling within the degrees of prohibited relationships.
Documents Required for a Court Marriage Process
You need some documents for the process of a legal marriage in court. Without these records, the solemnization of the marriage process in India is not permissible.
One needs the following reports from both the proposed bride and groom for a valid court marriage.
- Marriage application form rightfully approved by both groom and bride
- Receipt of payments given along with the application form
- Date of birth verification of both groom and bride (Class 10 certificate/birth certificate/passport)
- Residential address proof (voter ID card/Aadhar card/driving licence/ration card)
- Affidavit (one each from both the groom and bride)
The Affidavit for a Court Marriage must Include the Following for a Notice:
- Date of birth
- Marital status whether single or unmarried, widowed, or divorced
- A report declaring that the individuals are not associated with each other under the prohibited degrees of relationships
- 2 passport-size photos of both groom and bride
- Copy of divorce decree/order in a state of a divorcee and death certificate of husband or wife in case of widower/widow
Who Can Be an Eyewitness to the Court Marriage?
Any person such as a family member, a colleague, a family friend, or a friend can be a witness to a court marriage. Additionally, there must be three signatories for the solemnization of an actual court marriage.
The following reports are needed for a court marriage from the witnesses:
- Residential proof of the signatory is the most crucial document that has to be provided before the marriage officer.
- PAN card of the witness must further be done before the marriage officer.
- One passport size photo each from the three witnesses to the marriage.
- An identification certificate or document of the witnesses such as Aadhar card, driving licence, etc.
Fees Required in a Court Marriage
Court marriage fees vary in several states. Usually, court marriage procedure fees are within Rs 500 to Rs 1000. But it is constantly desirable to control the fees while charging in the online application for a court marriage as it may further go beyond the cap because each state frames its own laws and regulations and appoints its fee structure for the solemnization of a court marriage.