[Breaking] Indians can marry foreigners under Special Marriage Act

Indian Parliament enacted the Special Marriage Act in the year 1954 providing an opportunity to all Indian nationals, including those who are resident of foreign countries to marry irrespective of their religious faith OR belief. In certain cases Special Marriage Act, 1954 provides a special form of marriage; provides registration of such marriages and also provides provisions for divorce.

In the give case between Devika Raj v. State of Kerala, came before the Honourable High Court of Kerala, decision of the Marriage Registration Officer prohibiting the petitioner from marrying a Canadian citizen under the provisions of Special Marriage Act, 1954 on the ground that, said Act does not apply in marrying a foreign national.

Hence, the question before the Honourable High Court was that, whether Indians can marry foreigners under Special Marriage Act? In this regard, court referred to earlier judgement in Rajeev v. State of Kerala1, which relied on a decision of High Court of Himachal Pradesh in Marian Eva v. State of Himachal Pradesh2, where the Court categorically found that the Special Marriage Act does not contain any prohibition for solemnisation of the marriage, if one of the parties is a foreigner.

In order to get a marriage registered under the provisions of Special Marriage Act, 1954 the parties shall comply with the provisions of Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954. In the given case, court observed that, the petitioner has duly complied said provisions.

High Court further interpreted the term “person” as mentioned in Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, which does not indicate that either one of the parties or both the parties should be citizens of India.

In the light of above mentioned points, Honourable High Court allowed the petitioner to contract the marriage as she intended and instructed the Marriage Registration Officer to register their marriage under the provisions of Special Marriage Act, 1954.

Read Full Judgement of Devika Raj v. State of Kerala

  1. 2001 (1) KLT 578 []
  2. AIR 1993 Himachal Pradesh 7 []

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