Mar 11, 2022

5 things you didn’t know about Inter-religious Marriages

The Tata group’s jewellery brand Tanishq has taken down its latest advertisement following the social media outrage over the advertisement. The advertisement shows a baby shower being thrown by a Muslim family for their daughter-in-law, who is a Hindu. The ad was severely criticised by a section of social media users who claimed that it promoted ‘love jihad’. The hashtag #BoycottTanishq has been trending across social media sites like Twitter for the past few days.

  1. Which law regulates inter-religious marriages?

A man and a woman belonging to different religions can get married as per the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The Act provides for a special form of marriage, the registration of special marriages, divorce, etc.

  1. Who can get married under the Special Marriage Act?

Irrespective of religion, any two people can get married under the Special Marriage Act as long as certain conditions are fulfilled. If you want to get married under this Act, then at the time of the marriage:

(a) you should not be married to another person who is currently alive;

(b) you should be capable of giving your consent to the marriage with a sensible mind;

(c) you should not be suffering from any mental disorder that makes you unfit for marriage and the procreation of children;

(d) you should be at least 21 years of age (if you are a man), or 18 years of age (if you are a woman); and

(e) your relationship with the other person should not be prohibited by law.

  1. Giving notice of the marriage

If two people want to get married under the Special Marriage Act, they need to give a written notice of the marriage. The notice should be sent to the Marriage Officer of the district where the couple (or one of them) has been residing. The person giving the notice should have been living in the district for at least 30 days before notifying the Officer. The form of the notice is given in the Second Schedule of the Act.

  1. How is a special marriage conducted?

Before the special marriage is performed, the two people who are getting married, as well as three witnesses, should sign a declaration in front of the Marriage Officer. The declaration will also be signed by the Officer.

The marriage can be performed at the office of the Marriage Officer. The couple can also choose to get married at any other place within a reasonable distance from the office (this will involve paying additional fees). The marriage can be conducted in any form as per the wishes of the couple.

However, any special marriage is only complete if both the people say the following statement in front of the Officer and three witnesses: “I, (A), take (B), to be my lawful wife (or husband)”. This statement can be made in any language understood by the couple.

  1. The marriage certificate

After the marriage has been conducted, the Marriage Officer will enter a certificate in his/her Marriage Certificate Book. The marriage certificate has to be signed by the couple and the three witnesses. After a certificate is entered in the Book by the Officer, this certificate is considered to be a conclusive evidence of the marriage. The certificate is legal proof of the marriage. It confirms that the marriage is valid and has been completed with all formalities.

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