Special Marriage Act:
Several interfaith couples including some celebrities chose to marry under a secular personal law i.e. through the Special Marriage Act, of 1954.
- The Special Marriage Act of 1954 (SMA) was passed by Parliament on October 9, 1954.
- It governs a civil marriage where the state sanctions the marriage rather than the religion.
- SMA enables marriage between inter-faith or inter-caste couples without them giving up their religious identity or resorting to conversion.
- The applicability of the Act extends to the people of all faiths, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists, across India.
- The minimum age to get married under the SMA is 21 years for males and 18 years for females.
- As per Section 5 of the Act, the parties to the marriage are required to give a notice, in writing, to a “Marriage Officer” of the district in which at least one of the parties has resided for at least 30 days immediately preceding the notice.
- The parties and three witnesses are required to sign a declaration form before the Marriage Officer.
- Once the declaration is accepted, the parties will be given a “Certificate of marriage” which is essentially proof of the marriage.