Image Source : PTI Actor couple Sonakshi Sinha and Zaheer Iqbal

Special Marriages Act: The marriage of Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha and actor Zaheer Iqbal has brought the Special Marriage Act into the spotlight once again.  Enacted in 1954, this law provides protection and allows individuals of different religions or nationalities to marry without converting to their partner’s faith, providing a secular legal framework for such unions. Many Bollywood actors and actresses, including Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan, as well as Soha Ali Khan and Kunal Khemu, have tied the knot under the Special Marriage Act. Here, we explore the Special Marriage Act, its provisions, the eligibility criteria for marriage under this law, and the rights granted to husband and wife after marriage.

All marriages in India can be registered under the respective personal laws such as the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Muslim Marriage Act, 1954, or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The judiciary is responsible for ensuring the protection of the rights of both husband and wife. The Special Marriage Act, 1954, enacted by the Parliament of India, allows individuals for marriage, regardless of their religion or faith. 

The Hindu Marriage Act is applicable in cases where both husband and wife are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs or where they have converted into any of these religions. Where either of the husband or wife or both are not Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs the marriage is registered under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

What is the Special Marriage Act?

The Special Marriage Act, 1954, is a law that allows individuals to marry regardless of their religion or nationality. It provides a legal framework for civil marriages, ensuring that such unions are protected and recognised by law. The Special Marriage Act lays down the procedure for both solemnisation and registration of marriage, where either of the husband or wife or both are not Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, or Sikhs.

The Act requires a written notice to the district’s Marriage Officer with the relevant documents 30 days before the intended date of the marriage.

According to lawyer Sanjay Chaddha, the Special Marriage Act offers legal recognition to marital relationships between people of different religions and castes. This law allows individuals from different religious backgrounds to marry without needing to convert to each other’s religion or follow traditional religious marriage rituals.

Key points for Special Marriage Act

To get married under the Special Marriage Act, the following conditions must be met:

  • Age Requirement: The girl must be at least 18 years old, and the boy must be at least 21 years old.
  • Mental State: Both individuals must be of sound mind.
  • Marital Status: At the time of marriage, both parties must be unmarried or legally divorced, with no other spouse.
  • Registration: The couple must register their intent to marry with the marriage officer at least 30 days before the marriage.

How does marriage take place under Special Marriage Act?

Once the notice period has passed and no valid objections have been filed, the parties to the marriage may proceed to solemnise the marriage. Under the Special Marriage Act, marriage takes place in front of a marriage officer. The marriage officer is usually a sub-registrar. Along with this, three witnesses are also present at the time of marriage. During this time, there are no rituals according to any religion. After the formalities are completed, the marriage officer issues a marriage certificate.

What rights do the husband and wife have?

Like any other marriage, under the Special Marriage Act, the husband and wife have equal rights. Both are provided with legal protection and a share in the property. Registration must be completed 30 days before the marriage, granting the marriage legal recognition and serving as proof of the union.

Also Read: Newlyweds Sonakshi Sinha, Zaheer Iqbal step out in all smiles for dinner date with family | WATCH VIDEO

Also Read: ‘Ofcourse I was there…’ Sonakshi Sinha’s brother Kush breaks silence on missing her wedding