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Inter-faith Couple Moves HC to Do Away with 'Unconstitutional' 30-day Notice Under Special Marriage Act

File photo of Delhi High Court

File photo of Delhi High Court

The issue of whether either party has a living spouse, which can be raised as an objection under section 4 of the Act, is not a condition imposed on same-faith marriages, the petition has said, adding that imposing it on inter-faith marriages is due to a bias against such relationships.

New Delhi: A plea has been moved in the Delhi High Court by an inter-faith couple challenging the provision of issuing a public notice to invite objections to marriages under the Special Marriage Act (SMA). The petition was listed on Thursday before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan which could not hear the matter as the main lawyer representing the couple was arguing another case in the Supreme Court.

The high court listed the matter for hearing on October 1. The petition contended that some of the objections, like unsoundness of mind of either party or they not having attained the age of marriage, that can be raised under section 4 of the Act "can be ascertained on the basis of certificates issued from a government hospital or any prescribed authority".

The plea, filed through advocate Utkarsh Singh, said the 30-day notice period inviting objections to the marriage directly impinge on the fundamental rights of the petitioners. The issue of whether either party has a living spouse, which can be raised as an objection under section 4 of the Act, is not a condition imposed on same-faith marriages, the petition has said, adding that imposing it on inter-faith marriages is due to a bias against such relationships.

The petition has urged the court to declare as "illegal, null, void and unconstitutional" the provisions of the Act which lay down the procedure of 30 day notice for inviting objections. It has also sought a direction to the Centre and Delhi government to decide the objections, under the Act, on the basis of undertaking and certificates issued by any government hospital or any other authority.

The plea has also sought doing away with the 30 days notice period requirement and registration of the marriage of the petitioners.


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