In a Landmark Verdict, Allahabad High Court Removes the Mandatory 30-day notice under Special Marriage Act

Allahabad High Court has given its decision on interfaith marriages that couples seeking to solemnise their marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 can choose not to publish the mandatory 30-day notice of their intention to marry.

Section 5 of the Special Marriage Act legislation that allows couple to marry irrespective of their religion requires both the parties to give a 30-days public notice of their intention to marry. This public notice will be displayed outside the marriage office, inviting potential objections to the marriage. Justice Vivek Chaudhary on Tuesday commented in his order.

His statement reads: “The interpretation of Sections 6 and 7 read with Section 46 containing the procedure of publication of notice and inviting objections to the intended marriage in Act of 1954 thus has to be such that would uphold the fundamental rights and not violate the same. In case the same on their simplistic reading are held mandatory, as per the law declared today, they would invade in the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy, including within its sphere freedom to choose for marriage without interference from state and non-state actors, of the persons concerned.”

He clarified that “in case such individuals applying to solemnize their marriage under the Act of 1954 themselves by their free choice desire that they would like to have more information about their counterparts, they can definitely opt for publication of notice under Section 6 and further procedure with regard to objections to be followed. Such publication of notice and further procedure would not be violative of their fundamental rights as they adopt the same of their free will.”

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