Battle of Love: Special Marriage Act, 1954

This article has been written by Piyush Bajaj. Piyush is currently a BCom LLB student at Amity Law School, Noida.

Marriage is considered to be a sacrament in our country, as it is the most integral tradition which is being followed from over hundreds of years.

India has been a land where a boy and a girl weren’t allowed to select their partners on their own as it was their parent’s duty because of their thinking that they were a lot wiser and experienced than their children and will decide the best for them. The concept of marriage is considered to be very auspicious in every religion in the country as it is a summit of two souls with the personal laws of every religion being followed.

The influence of caste and religion is enormous in our society especially in matters of marriage as it is considered to be the most important criteria for a properly solemnized marriage. Parents search for the bride or groom in the same cast or religion of theirs, as Inter-cast or Inter-religion marriages are considered to be a taboo. People are forced to marry according to their family’s will or due to the pressure of the society, but the question arises “What if someone wants to marry a person of other caste or religion”? So the society gave the answer to us as “Honour Killing”. The grave need of ending such crimes and to support people who believed in stepping up of the cast or religion barriers, the parliament enacted the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The act provides a special form of marriage in which any citizen of India can marry irrespective of any caste or religion barrier.

This act resolves the problem of caste or religion being a barrier for the people who believe in marrying outside their caste or religion. So here are some features of the act enlisted for a better understanding –

  1. Requirements

To marry under this act, the parties need to file a notice to the Marriage Registrar of the district with the intention of marrying each other, in which one of the party has resided for at least 30 days preceding the date on which such notice is to be filed, then the marriage is said to be solemnized.

  1. Conditions
  • The groom must be of 21 and the bride must be of 18 years of age at the time of marriage.
  • The parties should be mentally fit in order to be able to decide for themselves.
  • They should not be under prohibited relationship or else it will otherwise act as a ground to dissolve their marriage.
  1. General Understanding

The general understanding is that marriages under this act don’t make it any less sacred or invalid. The constitution provides the right to marry any person of their choice, but this idea is supported as well as criticized too because of the influence of arranged marriages over love marriages has brought such situation, which even after so much of legislative and judicial progress hasn’t brought about a major change in the mindsets of people .

Conclusion

After such progress in matters of special marriages, people still face difficulties in accepting it as they feel it is a dishonour to them. But if we look at the positive side of these marriages, they add up to the national integrity. Most importantly the people of the country need to appreciate such marriages between different caste and religion as it will increase equality amongst the citizens and it will also set an example how to love and respect each and every person irrespective of their caste or religion barriers.


The December book bucket

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