The institution of “marriage” is revered on the Indian subcontinent. India is a varied nation, and as a result, many different religions and cultures have residents there. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1954 are the two main laws that govern the majority of marriages in India.
The Hindu Marriage Act is applicable to any union of two Hindus. An Arya Samaj wedding is quick and easy, but it is only available to Hindus. Before being eligible for it, a person from another religion must convert to Hinduism (much like in traditional Muslim weddings, where the Maulvi cannot solemnise the marriage if one party is not Muslim).
However, irrespective of religion, anyone may choose to use the Special Marriage Act. Couples can lawfully wed under the Special Marriage Act for interfaith unions.
Earlier, when every choice was made by the bride and groom’s respective parents and meeting the bride and groom was not a common practise, marriages were started without the bride and groom knowing who they were getting married to (though this was in the ancient times).
In today’s world of nuclear families and more individuality, every marriage-related decision is made by the bride and groom themselves. The magnitude of caste and religious influence in India is generally known to all Indians.
And when it comes to marriage, it is regarded as the most crucial requirement for a legally valid union. The customary, open practise is for parents to choose a prospective wife or groom for their children from within their own caste. In many places and states of our nation, inter-caste marriage is still frowned upon. India continues to adhere to a highly strict caste system.
When families view intercaste or interreligious marriage as a sign of enduring disgrace, things can become very extreme. The term “honour killings,” which are recorded every year, has become commonplace in society.
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 was passed by the Parliament and it establishes a special type of marriage for all Indian citizens living abroad as well as for those living in India, regardless of caste or religion.
The consent of both parties to the marriage is the fundamental prerequisite for a legitimate marriage registration under this Act. Caste, religion, colour, and other factors cannot and do not prevent a couple from getting married if both sides are willing to do so.
The person making the marriage registration application should have all required documentation. A birth certificate is one of the most crucial documents when applying for marriage because it attests to a person’s legal age to do so.