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Publication of notice under Special Marriage Act optional: Allahabad HC

Such notices invade the privacy of individuals, observed the court

Odisha teacher requests 1,001 saplings as dowry Representational Image | Reuters

In a significant judgment that could bring relief to inter-faith couples, the Allahabad High Court has ruled that the mandatory display of notices for marriage under Special Marriages Act should be made optional. The court observed that the publication of such notices is invading in the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy.

The order came on a habeas corpus writ filed by a Muslim woman who converted to Hinduism to marry a Hindu man. The woman alleged that her family is not permitting her to live with her husband.

As per Section 5 of the Special Marriages Act, 1954, the inter-faith couple should give a written notice of their marriage to the District Marriage Officer and this notice should be displayed in the office for 30 days so that anyone can raise objections if the marriage violates the laws, including that of age and mental health.

The HC order has now given a provision for the couple to choose not to publish their marriage notice. “In case they do not make such a request for publication of notice in writing, while giving notice under Section 5 of the Act, the Marriage Officer shall not publish any such notice or entertain objections to the intended marriage and proceed with the solemnisation of the marriage,” the court said.

Last week, the high court had held that nobody can interfere in the peaceful life of two adults residing together of their own will.

Hearing a writ petition filed by an interfaith couple alleging harassment by their family members, the court held that where two individuals having attained the age of majority, are living together, nobody is entitled to interfere in their peaceful life.

The HC made the observation referring to an SC order, in which the apex court had held that once a person becomes a major he or she can marry whosoever he/she likes.  


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