What is the procedure for doing a court marriage?

I wanted to know what is the procedure of getting a court marriage done? and what all documents are required?

Answers (1)

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A Court Marriage is solemnised under the Special Marriages Act, 1954. This procedure does not require any religious ceremonies and partners irrespective of their religion wanting to get married can do so within a 35-45 day period.

There are however the following pre-requisites applicable for court marriages through the Special Marriage Act 1954:

i. Neither party should have a spouse living at the time of marriage.

ii. Both the parties should be of sound mind, capable of giving valid consent, fit for marriage and procreation of a child.

iii. Male should have completed the age of 21 years and female should have completed the age of 18 years at the time of marriage.

iv. Parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship – Provided that where a custom governing at least one of the parties permits of a marriage between them, such marriage may be solemnized, notwithstanding that they are within the degrees of prohibited relationship. (Degrees of Prohibited Relations has been defined in Section 2(b) of the above mentioned Act).

There are basically three stages of going for a Court Marriage.

Stage I: Filing of application form and preparation of required documents

You need to locate the Marriage Officer's office in whose jurisdiction your application will be accepted - this is based upon your residential proof. Thereafter, you need to fill application forms, prepare necessary affidavits and collect required documents. Exact documentation required to be submitted varies depending on jurisdiction and individual case by case basis. In general, the following documents are essential:

i. Documentary evidence of date of birth of both the parties: Matriculation Certificate / Birth Certificate / Passport (depending on your jurisdiction).

ii. Residential proof of both the parties: Ration card / Election ID card / Passport and Driving License (depending on your jurisdiction). 

iii. Photographs: Passport size photographs of both parties (3 copies each)

iv. Separate affidavits from husband and wife on non-judicial stamp paper duly attested by Notary Public or Oath Commissioner

v. Self attested photo copies of  PAN card and Voter ID/ Ration Card/ Passport/ Driving License of 3 (three) witnesses

All the photocopies of required documents and photographs need to be attested by a Gazetted Officer.

Stage II: Submission of completed application and notice period

The completed application needs to be submitted to the office of concerned Marriage Officer. It is compulsory for both husband and wife to be present at time of submission of application. All original documents are required at the time of submitting the application form. After submitting the forms, applicants are given a date and time for appearance before marriage registrar for solemnization of marriage. 
A notice of intended marriage (with photographs and details) will be published on the notice board of office of concerned Marriage Registrar Office for a period of 30 days. During course of the procedure of solemnization under Section 13 of the  Special Marriage Act 1954, any person may file an objection to the intended marriage within 30 days of issue of notice on public notice board.

Stage III: Appearance before concerned registrar on date of appearance

On the date of appearance, both parties have to appear before marriage registrar. All original documents are required at the time of registration of marriage.

3 witnesses will also need to be present along with couple during the procedure on date of appearance for court marriage

Next step is to deposit a registration feeand complete formalities of matching name spellings and tallying documents.

After examination of documents and application forms and parties, registrar will ask the parties to take an oath in front of him - the format of oath will be provided. 

After satisfying that no one has any objection with respect to the said marriage, Registrar will ask the parties to sign the marriage certificate and counter sign the same. 

In cases where such a objection is filed, the Officer shall not solemnize the marriage until he has decided on the validity of the objection raised within 30 days of receipt of the objection. Valid objections include age of any of the parties intending to get married or the bride is too closely related to the groom (parties are within the prohibited degrees of relationship) or that either party has a living spouse. The Officer will not solemnize the marriage until he has inquired into the matter of the objection and is satisfied that it ought not to prevent the solemnization of the marriage or the objection is withdrawn by the person making it.

In cases where a valid objection is found after enquiry and the Officer refuses to solemnize the marriage, any of the parties may file an appeal within 30 days to the District Court. 

After showing the receipt, the marriage certificate is handed over to the newly married couple on the same day.

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