Prior to solemnization of marriage, notice of intended marriage under Section 5 of the Special Marriage Act must be given: Madras High Court

In a recent case the Madras High Court has denied registering marriage of a couple under Special Marriage Act 1954 stating that the procedures under Section 5-13 has to be mandatorily complied with The matter was between S.Sarath Kumar v. The District Collector and another (W.P.(MD)No.13304 of 2022) and was presided over by Hon’ble Mr. Justice G.R. Swaminathan.


The petitioner belongs to a Scheduled Caste. He fell in love with Ms.Lediya who professes Christianity. Their relationship was approved by both the families. They purportedly got married on 10.06.2022 in the presence of the local panchayat president and a political functionary. The couple thereafter submitted a joint application before the marriage officer on 17.06.2022. The authority denied a marriage certificate to the couple as Ms.Lediya was yet to turn 21. The petitioner contended that under section 4 (c) she was of 18 years of age.


The court stated that if the marriage was performed in accordance with Chapter II of the Act, then the male and female parties must both be at least 21 years old. However, in this instance, the wedding took place on June 10, 2022. Notice under Section 5 of the Act wasn’t given until after that. As a result, it was not solemnized in accordance with the Special Marriage Act’s rules. The petitioner was unable to make a claim under Section 4 of the Act since he did not wed Lediya in accordance with the Special Marriage Act, the court said. 

Furthermore the court mentioned that 

Things have to move only in a sequential order. The couple in question have put the cart before the horse. The parties after performing their so-called marriage had given notice under Section 5 of the Act. The language of Section 5 of the Act is clear. The petitioner did not marry Ms.Lediya under The Special Marriage Act, 1954. He cannot avail the benefit set out in Section 4 of the Act. The second respondent rightly declined the petitioner’s request. No mandamus can be issued contrary to law. The writ petition stands dismissed.” 

Since the marriage was not performed in accordance with the Special Marriage Act, it was subject to Section 15 of the Act, which stipulated that both parties had to be at least 21 years old to register a marriage. This was not the situation at hand. As a result, the court noted that the registrar had properly rejected the petitioner’s application and that no further instructions could be provided.

The writ petition was dismissed. 

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