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The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872

The Indian Christian Marriage Act was enacted on 18th July, 1872. Act extends to whole of India except the territories which were incorporated before 1st November, 1956 that are Cochin, Manipur, and Jammu and Kashmir. For this Act “Church cover any shrine or any structure used by Christian and in general for devotion.” All marriages between one party Christian or both the party to marriage being Christian has to be follow under said provisions of the act and whoever not following the said provision such marriage is considered to be void. Person by whom marriage can be solemnized in Indian can be person who has received Episcopal ordination as the marriage that he is solemnizing is according to rules, rites, ceremonies of the church of which he is minister or such person who is Clergyman of church of Scotland or such person who is Minister of Religion Licensed to solemnize the marriage by this act, or such person appointed as Marriage Registrar as per the act or the person who is licensed by this act to grant marriage certificate to Indian Christians.

As per the act the state government consider the territories which are in their control can grant license to Minister of religion for solemnization of marriage and also to person who can grant marriage certificate to Indian Christian and this both can also be revoked by notifying in Official Gazette. For this act state government may appoint Marriage Registrar or Marriage Registrars and Senior Marriage Registrar to hold such office for that said district. When the Marriage Registrar of district is not present for reason like ‘ill’ in office and appointed Registrar is only “one” in number then Magistrate can act in accordance with the provision stated by act for Marriage Registrar.

Time to solemnize the marriage under this act is from six in morning till seven in the evening, time can be only changed if Clergyman have special license which is hand and seal permitting him to do so. “Church” is only place where marriage can be solemnized, but it can be even solemnized at any such place, where there is no Church within five miles distance to nearest to that place or only when he has received special permission granting him to solemnize the marriage other then church.

When the marriage is to be solemnized by Minister of Religion then person who wish to marry has to give notice in writing, should have to fill the requisite form needed as per schedule and give name, surname, profession professed by them place where they are living etc. Once notice given to Minister of Religion for solemnization of marriage then in which church it intend to marry then its minister’s duty to put that notice on such place so that it is easily visible to each and all, if marriage to be taken place in private dwelling then notice should be forwarded to Registrar of District so then he shall put notice in such dwelling place. After all publishing and other procedural work completed the Minister issue the certificate before expiring of four days after the date of receipt of notice and such issue should not be prohibited in any manner. Before issuing certificate the persons intending to marriage should declare that consent obtained is as required by law. Same procedure i.e., filling form and publishing is followed by Indian Christian also the only difference is certificate that is issued in form as per second schedule. Once the certificate is issued then party to marriage can solemnize according to ceremony as they and Minister adopt and such marriage has to be solemnized within two months as certificate is valid for two months, if it solemnize after two months the certificate will be considered as void. The person who is not allowed to solemnized marriages shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to ten years in respect to sentence of imprisonment for seven years or upwards with moving for term not less than seven years and not exceeding to ten years.

Thus, solemnization of marriage can be by any authorised person but issue of certification is necessary and that certification should be valid and thus ceremony need to perform within said period.

by Samata. H. Joshi