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The Foreign Marriage Act, 1969

The Foreign Marriage Act has been enacted on a fine day on 31.08.1969. This is an Act to make provisions relating to marriages of Indian Citizens outside India. The Central Government by way of notifications in the Official Gazette shall appoint such diplomatic Officer may deem fit as a Marriage Officer. Diplomatic Officer means an ambassador, minister, envoy or other diplomatic representatives or a Counselor, etc.

In order to solemnize marriage under this Act, one of the Parties at least should be the Citizen of India. This marriage should be solemnized before the so called Marriage Officer in foreign countries. In order to perform a legal marriage neither party have a spouse living or idiot or lunatic during the time of marriage. During the time of marriage the bridegroom should have completed the age of Twenty one and bride should not have completed the age of eighteen. Both the Parties should not be under the prohibited relationship provided any of the laws permitted to solemnize the marriage.

If the marriage is proposed to get solemnize under this Act then notice has to be issued by the parties to the Marriage Officer in the form prescribed under first schedule of this Act. Here atleast one of the parties should be resided in the district for atleast one month preceding the date of notice to the place where the marriage has been solemnized.

The Marriage Officer shall maintain all the notices with him. He also maintains the record book which contains all the original entry from the notices, wherein it is kept for inspections at any time. This book is named as Marriage record book. This Marriage Officer shall publish all the notices that are presented before him. These notices shall be published in his own office at a conspicuous place and in India and in such other Country as prescribed wherein the parties being an ordinary resident.

 In case if any of the party wanted to object the marriage, shall do it within thirty days from the date of publication of notices on ground that it contravene against the Act. Such objection by parties or any person duly authorized on their behalf should submit their objection in writing with proper signature. The Marriage Officer shall enter the reason for the objection in his marriage record book. In case of no objection, the marriage will get solemnize immediately after the expiry of that thirty days period.

The Marriage Officer shall not solemnize the marriage until he makes a detail inquiry about the objection and later he rejects if it deems fit or else the objection shall be taken back by the parties. This Officer in case of any reasonable doubt shall pass the matter to the Central Government and the Government intern gives the opinion about the marriage solemnization.

 The Marriage Officer shall not solemnize the marriage if it in any way prohibits any laws in force of either Country. During solemnization of marriage the parties and three witnesses shall sign before the Marriage Officer and it is counter signed by the Officer for its acknowledgement. The marriage under this Act shall be solemnized in the official house of the Officer with open doors at the prescribed timings with the presence of atleast three witnesses. In case of declaration the language used shall be of the party’s priority or even the witness shall interpret the language that is known to the Marriage Officer.

The Marriage Officer shall maintain the marriage certificate book and it shall stand as a conclusive evidence of marriage. In case if the marriage is not solemnized within six months from the date of notice given shall precede the record to the Central Government. If the parties prefer to register the marriage, it shall be done duly upon fees and they receive the Certificate of registration from the registrar. In case of any issues, the matter will be appealed to the Central Government within thirty days from the date of rejection of registration.

In case of matrimonial relief it proceeds according to the provisions under Special Marriage Act, 1954 and the proceedings are of Civil Court nature. In case if the marriage is solemnized in foreign Country for which the relief not available under this Act shall be based on any other laws in force. Penal provisions for bigamy, false declaration, etc, shall be available under this Act inorder to prevent illegal Solemnization of marriages.

by C.Srivenkatesh Prabhu