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Publishing of notice for interfaith marriages will be optional, rules Allahabad high court | India News

NEW DELHI: The Allahabad high court on Wednesday ruled that the mandatory publishing of notice for interfaith marriages under the Speical Marriages Act, 1954 will now be optional.
“While giving notice under Section 5 of the Act of 1954, it shall be optional for the parties to the intended marriage to make a request in writing to the Marriage Officer to publish or not to publish a notice under Section 6 and follow the procedure of objections as prescribed under the Act of 1954,” the court said in its 47-page order.
“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 solemnization of the marriage,” the order further said.
The court noted that marriages under any personal law do not require publication of any notice or calling for objections with regard to such a marriage.
“There is no apparent reasonable purpose achieved by making the procedure to be more protective or obstructive under the Act of 1954, under which much less numbers of marriages are taking place, than procedure under the other personal laws, more particularly when this discrimination violates the fundamental rights of the class of persons adopting the Act of 1954 for their marriage,” the court said in its order.
The Special Marriages Act, 1954, mandates that once an inter-faith couple give written notice of their intention to marry, the district marriage officer should display that notice to find out if anyone has any objection to the marriage.
Section 6 (2) of the Act reads: “The Marriage Officer shall cause every such notice to be published by affixing a copy thereof to some conspicuous place in his office.”
The Act further states that if either of the parties to the intended marriage is not residing within the local limits of the marriage officer to whom the notice has been given, the officer will ensure that a copy of the notice is displayed at the office of the district within whose limits such party is permanently residing.
A period of 30 days is given to people to object to the intended marriage.
There has been strong opposition to these provisions in the Act.

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