The Special Marriage Act, 1954
(NO. 43 of 1954)
Note1: This electronic version of this statute is reproduced
for your convenience and personal use only and may not be copied
for the purpose of resale in this or any other form. Formatting
of this electronic version may differ from the official, printed
version. Where accuracy is critical, please consult official gazette
2: The relevant proveniences on solemnization of marriage and
filing of marriage are reproduced herewith for convenience. If
you need full text you may consult THE HINDU MARRIAGE ACT, 1955
[9th October, 1954.]
An Act to provide a special form of marriage in certain cases,
for the registration of such and certain other marriages and for
Be it enacted by Parliament in the Fifth Year of the Republic
of India as follows CHAPTERS.
Solemnization of Special Marriages
Registration of Marriages Celebrated in other Forms
Consequences of Marriage under this Act
1. Short title, extent and commencement - (1) This Act
may be called the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu
and Kashmir, and applies also to citizens of India domiciled in
the territories to which this Act extends who are in the State
of Jammu and Kashmir].
(3) It shall come into force on such date1 as the Central Government
may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.
2. Definitions -In this Act, unless the context otherwise
(b) degrees of prohibited relationship a man and any of the persons
mentioned in Part I of the First Schedule and a woman and any
of the persons mentioned in Part II of the said Schedule are within
the degrees of prohibited relationship;
Explanation I. Relationship includes,
(a) relationship by half or uterine blood as well as by full
(b) illegitimate blood relationship as well legitimate;
(c) relationship by adoption as well as by blood;
and all terms of relationship in this Act shall be construed
1. 1st January, 1955, Vide Notification No. S.R.O. 3606, dated
17th December, 1954, Gazette of India, Extraordinary, 1954 Part
II, s.3, page 2463.
Explanation II. - Full blood and half blood two persons
are said to be related to each other by full blood when they are
descended from a common ancestor by the same wife and by half
blood when they are descended from a Common ancestor but by different
Explanation III. Uterine blood two persons are said to
be related to each other by uterine blood when they are descended
from a common ancestress but by different husbands.
Explanation IV In Explanations II and III, ancestor includes
the father and ancestress the mother;
(d) district in relation to a Marriage Officer, means the area
for which he is appointed as such under sub-section (1) or sub-section
(2) of section 3;
(e) district court means, in any area for which there is a city
civil court, that court, and in any other area, the principal
civil court of original jurisdiction, and includes any other civil
court which may be specified by the State Government by notification
in the Official Gazette as having jurisdiction in respect of the
matters dealt with in this Act;]
(f) prescribed means prescribed by rules made under this Act;
(g) State Government in relation to a Union territory, means
the administrator thereof.
3. Marriage Officers. (1) For the purposes of this
Act, the State Government may, by1 notification in the Official
Gazette, appoint one or more Marriage Officers for the whole or
any part of the State.
(2) For the purposes of this Act, in its application to citizens
of India domiciled in the territories to which this Act extends
who are in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Central Government
may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify such officers
of the Central Government as it may think fit to be the Marriage
Officers for the State or any part thereof.
1. Government of Karnataka hereby appoints the District Registrars
and the Sub-Registrars functioning under the Indian Registration
Act, 1908 (Central Act 16 of 1908) to be marriage officers for
the areas under their irrespective jurisdiction [Notification
No. HD 1 CIM 59 dated 27-1-1959].
SOLEMNIZATION OF SPECIAL MARRIAGES
4. Conditions relating to solemnization of special marriages.
- Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for
the time being in force relating to the solemnization of marriages,
a marriage between 1[any two persons] may be solemnized under
this Act, if at the time of the marriage the following conditions
are fulfilled, namely :
2(a) neither party has a spouse living;
(b) neither party -
(i) is incapable of giving a valid consent to it in consequence
of unsoundness of mind; or
(ii) though capable of giving a valid consent, has been suffering
from mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to
be unfit for marriage and the procreation of children; or
(iii) has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy;
(c) the male has completed the age of twenty-one years and
the female the age of eighteen years;
(d) the parties are not within the degree of prohibited relationship;
Provided that where a custom governing at least one of the parties
permits of a marriage between them, such marriage may be solemnized,
not withstanding that they are within the degree of prohibited
(e) where the marriage is solemnized in the State of Jammu and
Kashmir, both parties are citizens of India domiciled in the territories
to which this Act extends.
1. Section 1 & 4 - Marriage between foreign national and
Indian - Whether the marriage can be solemnized of an Indian Citizen
with a foreign national in India under the provisions of the Special
Marriage Act, 1954. Held. A foreigner can get married in India
with a girl of Indian Nationality under the provision of the Special
Marriage Act 1954. Any two persons in India, where one of them
or both of them are foreigners or both of them are Indians can
enter into a form of marriage under the Act. [Vatsala & others
vs. Sub-Registrar and Marriage Officer and others : Kar L.J. 1981
2. Section 4(a) states that marriage between any two persons
may be solemnized under this Act if neither party has a spouse
living. All that it says is that if either party has a spouse
living at the time of marriage, the marriage can not be solemnized
under the Act. (Paramenshwari Bai V. Muthojirao Scindia AIR 1981
Explanation - In this section, Customs, in relation to
a person belonging to any tribe, community, group or family, means
any rule which the State Government may, by notification in the
Official Gazette, specify in this behalf as applicable to members
of that tribe, community, group or family.
Provided that no such notification shall be issued in relation
to the members of any tribe, community, group of family, unless
the State Government is satisfied -
(i) That such rule has been continuously and uniformly observed
for a long time among those members;
(ii) that such rule is certain and not unreasonable or opposed
to public policy; and
(iii) that such rule, if applicable only to a family, has not
been discontinued by the family.
5. Notice of intended marriage - When a marriage is intended
to be solemnized under this Act, the parties to the marriage shall
give notice thereof in writing in the form specific in the Second
Schedule to the Marriage Officer of the district in which at least
one of the parties to the marriage has resided for a period of
not less than thirty days immediately preceding the date on which
such notice is given.
6. Marriage Notice Book and Publication - (1) The Marriage
Officer shall keep all notices given under section 5 with the
records of his office and shall also forth with enter a true copy
of every such notice in a book prescribed for that purpose, to
be called the Marriage Notice Book, and such book shall be open
for inspection at all reasonable times, without fee, by any person
desirous of inspecting the same.
(2) The Marriage Officer shall cause every such notice to be
published by affixing a copy thereof to some conspicuous place
in his office.
1(3) Where either of the parties to an intended marriage is not
permanently residing within the local limits of the district of
the Marriage Officer to whom the notice has been given under section
5, the Marriage Officer shall also cause a copy of such notice
to be transmitted to the Marriage Officer of the district within
whose limits such party is permanently residing, and the Marriage
Officer shall thereupon cause a copy thereof to be affixed to
some conspicuous place in his office.
1. Channel of communication concerning notice of marriage between
the marriage officer in India and abroad - procedure - In order
to avoid delay in the display of such notices by missions abroad,
marriage officer in India should forward such notices direct to
the marriage officer in our missions abroad. [Government of India
Ministry of external affairs Lr. No. T 435 (14) 64 dated 24-8-64,
read with Govt. letter HD 12 CIM 66 dated 27-10-1964].
7. Objection to Marriage -(1) Any person may, before the
expiration of thirty days from the date on which any such notice
has been published under subsection (2) of section 6, object to
the marriage on the ground that it would contravene one or more
of the conditions specified in section 4.
(2) After the expiration of thirty days from the date on which
notice of an intended marriage has been published under sub-section
(2) of section 6, the marriage may be solemnized, unless it has
been previously objected to under subsection (1).
(3) The nature of the objection shall be recorded in writing
by the marriage officer in the Marriage Notice Book, be read over
and explained, if necessary to the person making the objection
and shall be signed by him or on his behalf.
8. Procedure on receipt of objection - (1) If an
objection is made under section 7 to an intended marriage, the
Marriage Officer shall not solemnize the marriage until he has
inquired into the matter of the objection and is satisfied that
it ought to prevent the solemnization of the marriage or the objection
is withdrawn by the person making it; but the Marriage Officer
shall not take more than thirty days from the date of objection
for the purpose of inquiring into the matter of the objection
and arriving at a decision.
(2) If the Marriage Officer upholds the objection and refuses
to solemnize the marriage, either party to the intended marriage
may, within a period of thirty days from the date of such refusal,
prefer an appeal to the district court within the local limits
of whose jurisdiction the Marriage Officer has his office, and
the decision of the district court on such appeal shall be final,
and the Marriage Officer shall act in conformity with the decision
of the court.
9. Powers of Marriage Officers in respect of inquiries
- (1) For the purpose of any inquiry under section 8, the
Marriage Officer shall have all the powers vested in a civil court
under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, (5 of 1908) when trying
a suit in respect of the following matters, namely :-
(a) Summoning and enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining
(b) Discovery and inspection;
(c) Compelling the production of documents;
(d) Reception of evidence on affidavits ; and
(e) Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses;
and any proceeding before the Marriage Officer shall be deemed
to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of section 193
of the Indian Penal Code. (45 of 1860)
Explanation - For the purpose of enforcing the attendance of
any person to give evidence, the local limits of the jurisdiction
of the Marriage Officer shall be the local limits of his district.
(2) If it appears to the Marriage Officer that the objection
made to an intended marriage is nor reasonable and has not been
made in good faith he may impose on the person objecting costs
by way of compensation not exceeding one thousand rupees and award
the whole or any part thereof to the parties to the intended marriage,
and any order for costs so made may be executed in the same manner
as a decree passed by the district court within the local limits
whose jurisdiction the Marriage Officer has his office.
10. Procedure on receipt of objection by Marriage Officer abroad
:- Where an objection is made under section 7 to a Marriage Officer
in the State of Jammu and Kashmir in respect of an intended marriage
in the State, and the Marriage Officer, after making such inquiry
into the matter as he thinks fit, entertains a doubt in respect
thereof, he shall not solemnize the marriage but shall transmit
the record with such statement respecting the matter as he thinks
fit to the Central Government, and the Central Government, after
making such inquiry into the matter and after obtaining such advice
as it thinks fit, shall give its decision thereon in writing to
the Marriage Officer who shall act in conformity with the decision
of the Central Government.
11. Declaration by parties and witnesses - Before the marriage
is solemnized the parties and three witnesses shall, in the presence
of the Marriage Officer, sign a declaration in the form specified
in the Third Schedule to this Act, and the declaration shall be
countersigned by the Marriage Officer.
12. Place and form of solemnization - (1) The marriage
may be solemnized at the office of the Marriage Officer, or at
such other place within a reasonable distance therefrom as the
parties may desire, and upon such conditions and the payment of
such additional fees as may be prescribed.
(2) The marriage may be solemnized in any form which the parties
may choose to adopt :
Provided that it shall not be complete and binding on the parties,
unless each party says to the other in the presence of Marriage
Officer and the three witnesses and in any language understood
by the parties, - I, (A), take thee (B), to be my lawful
13. Certificate of marriage - (1) When the marriage has
been solemnized, the Marriage Officer shall enter a certificate
thereof in the form specified in the Fourth Schedule in a book
to be kept by him for that purpose and to be called the Marriage
Certificate Book and such certificate shall be signed by the parties
to the marriage and the three witnesses.
(2) On a certificate being entered in the Marriage Certificate
Book by the Marriage Officer, the certificate shall be deemed
to be conclusive evidence of the fact that a marriage under this
Act has been solemnized and that all formalities respecting the
signature of witnesses have been complied with.
14. New Notice when marriage not solemnized within three months
- Whenever a marriage is not solemnized within three calendar
months from the date on which notice thereof has been given to
the Marriage Officer as required by section 5, or where an appeal
has been field under sub-section (2) of section 8, within three
months from the date of the decision of the district court on
such appeal or, where the record of a case has been transmitted
to the Central Government under section 10, within three months
from the date of decision of the Central Government, the notice
and all other proceedings arising there from shall be deemed to
have lapsed, and no Marriage Officer shall solemnize the marriage
until a new notice has been given in the manner laid down in this
Registration of Marriages Celebrated in Other Forms
15. Registration of marriages celebrated in other forms -Any
marriage celebrated, whether before or after the commencement
of this Act, other than a marriage solemnized under the Special
Marriage Act, 1872, (III of 1872) or under this Act, may be registered
under this Chapter by a Marriage Officer in the territories to
which this Act extends if the following conditions are fulfilled,
(a) a ceremony of marriage has been performed between the parties
and they have been living together as husband and wife ever since;
(b) neither party has at the time of registration more than one
(c) neither party is an idiot or a lunatic at the time of registration.
(d) the parties have completed the age of twenty-one years
at the time of registration;
(e) the parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship:
Provided that in the case of a marriage celebrated before the
commencement of this Act, this condition shall be subject to any
law, custom or usage having the force of law governing each of
them which permits of a marriage between the two; and
(f) The parties have been residing with the district of the Marriage
Officer for a period of not less than thirty days immediately
preceding the date on which the application is made to him for
registration of the marriage.
16. Procedure for registration -Upon receipt of an application
signed by both the parties to the marriage for the registration
of their marriage under this Chapter, theMarriage Officer shall
give public notice thereof in such manner as may be prescribed
and after allowing a period of thirty days for objections and
after hearing any objection received with that period, shall,
if satisfied that all the conditions mentioned in section 15 are
fulfilled, enter a certificate of the marriage in the Marriage
Certificate Book in the form specified in the Fifth Schedule,
and such certificate shall be signed by the parties to the marriage
and by three witnesses.
17. Appeals from orders under section 16 -Any person aggrieved
by any order of a Marriage Officer refusing to register a marriage
under this Chapter may, within thirty days from the date of the
order, appeal against that order to the district court within
the local limits of whose jurisdiction the Marriage Officer has
his office, and the decision of the district court on such appeal
shall be final, and the Marriage Officer to whom the application
was made shall act in conformity with such decision.
18. Effect of registration of marriage under this Chapter
: Subject to the provisions contained in sub-section (2) of
section 24, where a certificate of marriage has been finally entered
in the Marriage Certificate Book under this Chapter, the marriage
shall, as from the date of such entry, be deemed to be a marriage
solemnized under this Act, and all children born after the date
of the ceremony of marriage (whose names shall also be entered
in the Marriage Certificate Book) shall in all respect be deemed
to be and always to have been the legitimate children of their
Provided that nothing contained in this section shall be construed
as conferring upon any such children any rights in or to the property
of any person other than their parents in any case where, but
for the passing of this Act, such children would have been incapable
of possessing or acquiring any such rights by reason of their
not being the legitimate children of their parents.
CONSEQUENCES OF MARRIAGE UNDER THIS ACT
19. Effect of marriage on member of undivided family :The
marriage solemnized under this Act of any member of an undivided
family who professes the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jaina religion
shall be deemed to effect his severance from such family.
20. Rights and disabilities not affected by Act - Subject
to the provisions of section 19, any person whose marriage is
solemnized under this Act shall have the same rights and shall
be subject to the same disabilities in regard to the right of
succession to any property as a person to whom the Caste Disabilities
Removal Act, 1850 (21 of 1850) applies.
21. Succession to property of parties married under Act -Notwithstanding
any restrictions contained in the Indian Succession Act, 1925
(39 of 1925) with respect to its application to members of certain
communities, succession to the property of any person whose marriage
is solemnized under this Act and to the property of the issue
of such marriage shall be regulated by the provisions of the said
Act and for the purposes of this section that Act shall have effect
as if Chapter III of Part V (Special Rules for Pursi Intestate)
had been omitted therefrom.
21A. Special provision in certain cases - Where
the marriage is solemnized under this Act of any person who professes
the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jaina religion with a person who
professes the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jaina religion, section
19 and section21 shall not apply and so much of section 20 as
creates a disability shall also not apply.
43. Penalty on Married person marrying again under this Act-
Save as otherwise provided in Chapter III, every person who, being
at the time married, procures, a marriage of himself or herself
to be solemnized under this Act shall be deemed to have committed
an offence under section 494 or section 495 of the Indian Penal
Code (45 of 1860), as the case may be, and the marriage so solemnized
shall be void.
44. Punishment of bigamy - Every person whose marriages
is solemnized under this Act and who, during the lifetime of his
or her wife or husband, contracts any other marriage shall be
subject to the penalties provided in section 494 and section 495
of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), for the offence of marrying
again during the lifetime of a husband or wife, and the marriage
so contracted shall be void.
45. Penalty for signing false declaration or certificate-
Every person making, signing or attesting any declaration or certificate
required by or under this Act containing a statement which is
false and which he either knows or believes to be false or does
not believe to the true shall be guilty of the offence described
in section 199 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
46. Penalty for wrongful Any marriage officer who knowingly
and wilfully solemnizes a marriage under this Act-
(1) without publishing a notice regarding such marriage as required
by section 5, or
(2) within thirty days of the publication of the notice of such
(3) in contravention of any other provision contained in this
Shall be punishable with simple imprisonment for a term which
may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to five
hundred rupees, or with both.
47. Marriage Certificate Book to be open to inspection -
(1) The Marriage Certificate Book kept under this Act shall, at
all reasonable times, be open for inspection and shall be admissible
as evidence of the statements therein contained.
(2) Certified extracts from the Marriage Certificate Book shall,
on application be given by the Marriage Officer to the applicant
on payment by him of the 1prescribed fee.
48. Transmission of copies of entries in marriage records
:-Every Marriage Officer in a State shall send to Registrar
- General of Births, Deaths and Marriages of that State at such
intervals and in such form as may be prescribed, a true copy of
all entries made by him in the Marriage Certificate Book since
the last of such intervals, and , in the case of Marriage Officers
outside the territories to which the Act extends, the true copy
shall be sent to such authority as the Central Government may
specify in this behalf.
49. Correction of errors -(1) Any Marriage officer who
discovers any error in the form or substance of any entry in the
Marriage Certificate Book may, within one month next after the
discovery of such error, in the presence of the persons married
or in case of their death or alience in the presence of two other
credible witnesses, correct the error by entry in the margin without
any alteration f the original entry and shall sign the marginal
entry and add there to the date - alternated of such correction
and the Marriage Officer shall make the like marginal entry in
the Certificate thereof.
(2) Every correction made under this section shall be attested
by the witnesses in whose presence it was made.
(3) Where a copy of any entry has already been sent under section
48 to the Registrar - General or other authority, the Marriage
Officer shall make and send in like manner a separate certificate
of the original erroneous entry and of the marginal corrections
1. Stamp duty exempted to issue copy of extract certified to
be true copy. Please see statutory exemption granted in Article
21 of the schedule to the Karnataka Stamp Act, 1957.
THE FIRST SCHEDULE
[See section 2(b) Degrees of Prohibited relationship]
PART - 1
2. Fathers Widow (Step-Mother)
3. Mothers mother
4. Mothers Fathers widow (Step grand-mother)
5. Mothers mothers mother
6. Mothers mothers fathers widow (Step great grand-mother)
7. Mothers fathers mother
8. Mothers fathers fathers widow (step great grand - mother)
9. Fathers mother
10. Fathers Fathers widow (Step grand-mother)
11. Fathers mothers mother
12. Fathers mothers fathers widow (step great grand-mother)
13. Fathers fathers mother
14. Fathers fathers fathers widow (step great grand-mother)
16. Sons widow
17. Daughters daughters.
18. Daughters Sons widow
19. Sons daughter
20. Sons Sons widow
21. Daughters daughters daughter
22. Daughters daughters sons widow
23. Daughters sons daughter
24. Daughters sons sons widow
25. Sons daughters daughter
26. Sons daughters sons widow
27. Sons Sons daughter
28. Sons sons sons widow
30. Sisters daughter
31. Brothers daughter
32. Mothers sister
33. Fathers sister
34. Fathers brothers daughter
35. Fathers sisters daughter
36. Mothers sisters daughter
37. Mothers brothers daughter
Explanation :- For the purposes of this Part, the expression
Widow includes a divorced wife.
PART - II
2. Mothers husband (step-father)
3. Fathers father
4. Fathers mothers husband (step grand-father)
5. Fathers fathers father
6. Fathers fathers mothers husband (step great grand-father)
7. Fathers Mothers father
8. Fathers mothers mothers husband (step great grand-father)
9. Mothers father
10. Mothers mothers husband (step grand-father)
11. Mothers fathers father
12. Mothers fathers mothers husband (step great grand-father)
13. Mothers mothers father
14. Mothers mothers mothers husband (step great grand-father)
16. Daughters husband
17. Sons son
18. Sons daughters husband
19. Daughters son
20. Daughters daughters husband
21. Sons sons son
22. Sons sons daughters husband
23. Sons daughters son
24. Sons daughters daughters husband
25. Daughters sons son
26. Daughters sons daughters husband
27. Daughters daughters son
28. Daughters daughters daughters husband
30. Brothers son
31. Sisters son
32. Mothers brother
33. Fathers brother
34. Fathers brothers son
35. Fathers sisters son
36. Mothers sisters son
37. Mothers brothers son.
Explanation :- For the purposes of this Part, the
expression husband includes a divorced husband.
THE SECOND SCHEDULE
(See Section 5)
NOTICE OF INTENDED MARRIAGE
Marriage Officer for the ..................................................
We are hereby give you notice that a marriage under the Special
Marriage Act, 1954, is intended to be solemnized between us within
three calendar months from the date hereof.
Witness our hands this ..................................................
day of ........................20......
THE THIRD SCHEDULE
(See Section 11)
DECLARATION TO BE MADE BY THE BRIDEGROOM
I, A.B., hereby declare as follow :-
1. I am at the present time unmarried (or a widower or a divorcee,
as the case may be).
2. I have completed.............. years of age.
3. I am not related to C.D. (the bride) within the degrees of
4. I am aware that, if any statement in this declaration is false,
and if in making such statement I either know or believe it to
be false or do not believe it to be true, I am liable to imprisonment
and also to fine.
(Signature) A.B.(the Bridegroom)
DECLARATION TO BE MADE BY THE BRIDE
I, C.D., hereby declare as follows :-
1. I am at the present time unmarried (or a widow or a divorcee,
as the case may be)
2. I have completed..........years of age.
3. I am not related to A.B. (the bridegroom) within the degrees
of prohibited relationship
4. I am aware that, if any statement is this declaration is false,
and if in making such statement I either know or believe it to
be false or do not believe it to be true, I am liable to imprisonment
and also to fine.
(Signature) C.D. (the Bride).
Signed in our presence by the above-named A.B. and C.D. so far
as we are aware there is no lawful>
(Signature) I.J. Three witnesses.
Dated the ............................................... day
of ................................... 20.........
THE FOURTH SCHEDULE
(See section 13)
CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE
I, E.F., hereby certify that on the ...........................
day of .................... 20............, A.B. and C.D. * appeared
before me and that each of them, in my presence and in the presence
of three witnesses who have signed hereunder, made the declarations
required by section 11 and that a marriage under this Act was
solemnized between them in my presence.
Marriage Officer for
(Signature) I.J. Three witnesses
Dated the ...................................................
day of ............................... 20.......................
* Herein give particulars of the parties.
THE FIFTH SCHEDULE
CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE CELEBRATED IN OTHER FORMS
I, E.F., hereby certify that A.B. and C.D.* appeared before me
this...............................day of .........................
20.............. and the each of them, in my presence of three
witnesses who have signed hereunder have declared that a ceremony
of marriage has been performed between them and that they have
been living together as husband and wife since the time of their
marriage, and that in accordance with their desire to have their
marriage registered under this Act, the said marriage has, this.............
day of .......................................... 20..........................
been registered under this Act, having effect as from.
Marriage Officer for
(Sd.) I.J. Three witnesses
Dated the.................................................. day
of ..................... 20................
* Herein give particulars of the parties.