The Marriage Validation Act, 1892

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The Marriage Validation Act, 1892 was enacted  on 29th February, 1892. The act is in continuation of Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872. Prior to these legislations there was either no legislation or what so ever present was defective. The object of these laws is to consolidate and simplify the existing law on marriages. The Act of 1872 dealt with solemnization of marriages between Christians and Indian Christians in India and applicable incase both the parties to marriage are Christians. However, under the Act of 1892 marriages where one party is a non Christian are also validated. Previously such marriages were not recognized by Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872 and were termed as irregular. This irregularity was taken care off under the Marriage Validation Act of 1892.

Thus the Marriage Validation Act of 1892 is a protraction of Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872. While under Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872 irregular marriages i.e. marriages solemnized between a Christian and non Christian was not recognized, the marriage Validation Act 1892 recognizes such marriages. Giving recognition to such marriages became important since after the establishment of The East India Company a lot of Britishers settled in India. They along with themselves brought in their customs, traditions and religion. Lot of people preaching other religions got attracted towards Christianity and got themselves converted. These converted were known as Indian Christians. The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 applied to Christians as well as converted Christians. As Christians and Christianity  integrated into the Indian society there were marriages between a Christians and non Christians which were not regulated and neither recognized by any law. Thus inorder to recognize such marriages, the Marriage Validation Act 1892 came into existence.

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It will be unfair to discuss the Marriage Validation Act 1892 without mentioning part VI of Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872.  The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 sections 60-65 speaks of the essential conditions, fulfillment of which shall validate a marriage. The essential condition so laid is necessary under section 3 of the Marriage Validation Act of 1892. For a marriage between Christian and non Christian to be valid or regular the conditions laid under sections of Part VI of Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872 have to be followed. Section 60 clearly states that the minimum age for marriage of the boy shall be 21 and that of wife shall be 18 years of age; none of them will have a spouse living at the time of marriage and the marriage should have taken place in front of credible witnesses by narration of marriage testimony in particular words. Under Section 61 of Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872 a certificate is issued. The same shall be a proof that essential conditions under section 60 have been fulfilled. The certificate shall be an evidence of validity of marriage and is signed by the licensed authorities. Under the marriage validation Act of 1892 under section 4 such a certificate shall be issued recognizing the validity of marriage between a Christian and non Christian. The Marriage Validation Act is equally applicable to marriages solemnized under Marriage Act of 1872. After the enforcement of the present act i.e. The Marriage Validation Act all the marriage between a Christian and a non Christian shall be certified under this Act. The Act necessarily lays down this condition and incase a person licensed to solemnize marriages, solemnizes a marriage under part VI of Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872 his licence is liable to be cancelled.

Thus we can say that the Marriage Validation Act was made in welfare of the marriages solemnized between a Christian and a non Christian and such marriages were considered as irregular. Inorder to regularise these marriages that were happening in numbers a legislation of such nature as The Marriage Validation Act 1982 was required. However, today both the legislations i.e. Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 and The Marriage Validation Act 1982 have been replaced by Special Marriage Act, 1954.

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by Vibhuti Nakta