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Special Marriage Act 1954

Special Marriage Act 1954:

The law that governs inter-faith marriages in the country, the Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954, is being challenged in the Supreme Court.

  • In 2021, petitions were filed to strike down several of its provisions.

The Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954

  • It is the legislation made to validate and register interreligious and inter-caste marriages in India.
  • It allows two individuals to solemnise their marriage through a civil contract.
  • No religious formalities are needed to be carried out under the Act.
  • This Act includes Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists marriages.
  • This Act applies not only to Indian citizens who belong to different castes and religions but also to Indian nationals who live abroad.

Current Petition:

  • Section 5 of the SMA requires a person marrying under this law to give a notice of intended marriage.
  • Section 6(2) says it should be affixed at a conspicuous place at the office of the marriage officer.
  • Section 7(1) allows any person to object to the marriage within 30 days of the publication of the notice, failing which a marriage can be solemnised under Section 7(2).
  • Due to these provisions breaching personal liberties, several inter-faith couples approached the Court, challenging Sections 6 and 7 of the Act.

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