Supreme Court to review 66-year-old Special Marriage Act for couples' privacyTop Stories

September 17, 2020 19:21
Supreme Court to review 66-year-old Special Marriage Act for couples' privacy

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The marriage act has a provision to make public the names of the bride and groom by pasting them on the notice board of the marriage officer.

The 66-year old Special MArriage has a certain provision that needs to be fulfilled by both the bride and groom.

Under this act, which came into force to give protection to the inter caste, inter faith and inter community marriages, the couples who are willing to get married have to make an application 30 days prior to the marriage date to the marriage officer.

They have to give details about their age, parents, and place of residence. The law mandates that these details given by the couples be posted on the notice board to invite objections to the alliance.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to reexamine the validity of certain provisions in this special marriage act including the notice board mandate as it violates the privacy of the couple which is against their right to life.

A student petitioner who is yet to appear for law, Nandini Praveen, senior advocate Kaaleshwaram Raj told the bench of judges comprising S A Bobde, A S Bopanna, V Ramasubramanian that the special marriage act’s mandate of revealing the personal details of the couples who are yet to get married goes against the triple test of legality, legitimacy, and proportionality laid down by the nine judges bench in the matter of right to privacy judgment.

The petitioners also mentioned that the public display of the names of the yet to get married couples on the notice board can also be an encouragement to honor killing by the couple’s relatives as the marriages are inter-caste or religion marriages.

Responding to it, the bench said that the points made by the petitioner were valid but has a flip side to it.

For instance, if one or both the spouses have run away from either of the spouses should it be kept a secret by the marriage officer who is legally obliged to inquire into the legitimacy of the alliance by inviting objections from the public by putting up the information on the notice board?

The moment the provision is deleted, it could be an abuse to the marriage system. So, instead of scrapping the existing provision, the petitioners must provide a solution according to the bench of judges.

By Gayatri Yellayi

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