There are a variety of reasons why court marriages are performed. People of different faiths, along with those who would rather not marry against their families’ wishes, do not wish to spend money on a big fat Indian wedding. Court marriage witnesses play an important role in the ceremony of marriage solemnization.
The Delhi High Court rejected a petition in October 2020 by a couple of interfaith faiths to remove a clause from the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Registrating an interfaith marriage requires a 30-day public notice by the marriage officer. Interfaith couples sometimes face life threats after receiving such notices, according to the couple. In their view, this procedure discourages interfaith marriages like theirs by discriminating against them.
Witnesses required for court marriages
In the marriage registrar’s office, three witnesses are required for a marriage to be solemnized. It can be a family member, a friend, a colleague, or a colleague of a family member. As long as the groom is 21 years old and the bride is 18 years old, the couple can go ahead with the marriage despite parents’ objections, as long as three witnesses are present during the exchange of vows and while signing the marriage register.
A legal marriage should not exist between either party. They must either be single or divorced at the time of the marriage, in which case a divorce certificate should be presented.
A bridegroom should be at least 21 years old and a bride should be at least 18 years old.
It is important that the parties are of sound mind. To put it another way, the person shouldn’t suffer from any mental disorders or be in a state of confusion.
A prohibited relationship should not exist between the parties. Relationships between them should not be prohibited or related in any way. The marriage will be dissolved if that’s the case. It is possible to solemnize a marriage under prohibited relation if the custom of either party permits it.
Marriage Prohibited by Degrees
Relationships between cousins, both paternal and maternal, are prohibited in Schedule I and Schedule II of the Act. There are differences in the way they are viewed under different religions.
As second cousins fall under sapindas, Hindu law prohibits marriage with them. In spite of this, the special marriage act does not prohibit such a relationship.
Accordant to Muslim law, cousins can marry both paternally and maternally.
The Church may allow marriages between cousins under Christian law.
Know more about : Court Marriage Registration
Court Marriage Witnesses’ Roles
It is possible to attain inter-religious marriages without abiding by personal laws under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. A witness is called in after the couple files a notice of intended marriage with the district marriage registrar stating their intention to marry. A party to the marriage must reside for at least 30 days prior to the date on which such a notice is given. In order to determine whether they are indeed eligible to get married, the court checks all their documents. After that, a notice inviting objections is published/posted. There is a 30-day time limit for this.
As soon as there is no objection to the marriage, the witness enters the picture, and the bride and groom sign declarations accepting each other as their lawfully married husband and wife. A declaration must be signed before the registrar in the presence of three witnesses, and the registrar must countersign the declaration.
Witnesses must sign the documents and provide their PAN card and residential proof in addition to attending the procedure. After signing the declaration by the bride, groom, witnesses, and registrar, the registrar will enter the details into the marriage registration online certificate register. After the marriage has been solemnized, the minister will issue a certificate of marriage as exclusive proof of the ceremony.
It’s fine if the bride and groom are of legal age and do not already have a spouse. Witnesses won’t cause any legal problems. Witnesses may be called to testify if the bride and groom are minors according to law, or they haven’t been divorced after previous marriages, or if either spouse’s vindictive loved one initiates any legal action.
The other couple, who is over the legal age, and the witnesses can be charged with a crime if one of the couples is a minor. A witness can end up in legal trouble if any or all conditions are violated by any party.
A witness may also be summoned by the court upon an application by either party when the issue of marital status itself becomes disputed at a later time.