Marriage and Beyond >> Wedding Legalities

Christian Marriages

The Christian marriages are solemnized under The Christian marriage Act 15 of 1872. A Christian is one who professes the religion of Jesus Christ and Indian Christians include native converts to Christianity and their Christian descendants.

Persons competent to solemnize marriage: Under this Act a minister of religion may be licensed to solemnize marriages. Marriage registrars appointed under this Act or those who have received episcopal ordination and the clergymen of the Church of Scotland can solemnize marriages under this Act.

Conditions for Marriage: The Act applies when one or both the parties to the marriage is or are Christians. If the personal law applicable to either of the parties forbids the marriage, e.g. no ground of prohibited degrees of relationship, it cannot be validly performed under this Act.

The Christian marriage Act is only concerned with the forms in which the marriage is to be solemnized and where the marriage is solemnized by a Marriage Registrar appointed under the Act the following procedure is to be followed:-

(a) Notice of Intended Marriage: One of the parties of intended marriage should give written notice of it to the Marriage Registrar of the District within which the parties have dwelt. Where the parties dwell in different districts the notice should be given to the Marriage Registrar of each district. The notice is affixed in a conspicuous part of the office of the Marriage Registrar and is entered in the "Marriage Note Book."

(b) Oath Before Registrar: One of the parties should appear personally before the marriage Registrar and make oath-

  • There is no impediment of kindred or affinity or other lawful hindrance to the Marriage.
  • The usual place of abode is within the district of such marriage registrar.
  • If either of the party is minor (i.e. one under 21 years of age) the consent of the persons competent to consent to the marriage (father and if he be dead the guardian of the person and if there be no guardian, the mother) has been obtained or that thgere is no person resident in India authorised to give such consent.

(c) Certificate of Notice: After the oath above mentioned has been made and 4 days after the receipt of the notice have expired (14 days if one of the parties is minor) the marriage Registrar can give the Certificate of Receipt of Notice. This certificate states in what Church, Chapel, or place of worship the marriage is supposed to be performed. The certificate will not be issued if the protest has been lodged by any one showing grounds why the certificate should not be issued. If the objection is frivolous the objector exposes himself to a suit of damages. The marriage should be solemnized within 2 months of the issue of certificate and otherwise the certificate becomes void and a fresh notice will have to be given.

(d) Mode of Solemnization: The marriage may be solemnized according to such form and ceremony as the parties think fit to adopt in the presence of some Marriage Registrar (not necessarily the one who issued the certificate) and of two or more witnesses. Each of the parties should say to the other: "I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, A do take thee, B, to be my lawfully wedded wife (or husband)."

(e) Registration: The Marriage Registrar present at the solemnization shall register the marriage in a Marriage Register-Book and in a certificate attached to that book as counterfoil. The parties sign and the witnesses attest these entries. At the end of every month the certificates (counter-foils) are sent to the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Special Provision for Indian Christians: In the case of marriages between Indian Christians the marriage may be certified without a preliminary notice.

The following conditions, however, should be fulfilled:

  • The age of the bridegroom should exceed 16 years.
  • Neither of the parties should be having a husband or wife living. In the presence of the person licensed to grant a certificate and atleast two credible witnesses each party should say to the other: "I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, A in the presence of Almighty God and in the name of our lord Jesus Christ, do take thee B, to be my lawfully wedded wife (or husband)" or words to that effect.

Marriage and Beyond >> Wedding Legalities
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