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Eva   07 May 2016

Special marriage act celebrated in other forms

Dear Sir or Madam,
my husband (Indian; Hindu) and me (German; Christian) performed a Hindu Celebration and registered our wedding afterwards under the Special Marriage Act under Section 16 (celebrated in other forms) in 2012. The German Embassy however claims now that our marriage is void because a Hindu wedding between a Christian and a Hindu is not allowed (according to Indian Law) and therefore the registration of that performance is void as well. As I understand the Section 15 of the SMA, any marriage - regardless of the form in which it took place - can be registered under the SMA? Is that right or dose the registration of the marriage under this Act needs to be in accordance to the traditional Law (in our case the Hindu Law) to be legal? My name is already entered as spouse in the indian passport of my husband.
Thank you very much for your help.

Best regards!


 2 Replies

Dr Katta Venkata Rama Krishna (Retd Sr Director Govt of India/ Advocate)     07 May 2016

1) As per Section 15 in The Special Marriage Act, 1954, ....a ceremony of marriage has been performed between the parties and they have been living together as husband and wife ever since....


2) If not done then the marriage is not legal.  The contention of German Embassy is correct.


3) If done as per Hindu customs, the bride is converted to Hindu in a Temple  or vice versa in Church in the process of the rituals.  Then it is a valid marriage.


4) Go to Arya Samaj get the process complete and get the Certificate from the Registrar of marriages.


5) Entering in the passport is not suffice which is modified at ur request as per evidence produced the legality of which to verify is not the duty of the Passport Office

Eva   08 May 2016

Thank you very much for your help. 

The only thing I don´t understand is: if I would have been converted to Hinduism our wedding would be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act and not under the Special Marriage Act. The fact that our marriage is registered under the SMA seems to be releated to the fact that I´m not a Hindu or not? I´m really sorry but I am very confused about all this. I read also in a report of the "law commision of India" that: ""The Special Marriage Act 1954 also provides the facility of turning an existing religious marriage into a civil marriage by registering it under its provisions, provided that it is in accord with the condition for marriage laid down under this Act [Section 15]. In view of these conflicts of various personal laws, all equally recognized in India, it will be in the fitness of things that all inter-religious marriages [except those within the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain communities] be required to be held only under the Special Marriage Act 1954. Even if such a marriage has been solemnized under any other law, for the purposes of matrimonial causes and remedies the Special Marriage Act can be made applicable to them. Such a move will bring all inter-religious marriages in the country under uniform law."

As I understand this statement the registration under the SMA turns any marriage into a civil marriage and no religious law is applicable or do I misunderstand this statement? 

Thank you once again for your help.

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