Special Marriage Act Doesn't Overide Personal Law: MP High Court on Interfaith Marriage

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Special Marriage Act Doesn’t Override Personal Law: MP High Court on Interfaith Marriage

| Updated: May 31, 2024 12:18

Justice Gurpal Singh Ahluwalia of the Madhya Pradesh High Court observed that a marriage between a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl is not a valid marriage according to Mahomedan Law. He was hearing a plea filed by a couple seeking police protection to register their marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

The court opined that a marriage between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman would be treated as an irregular (or fasid) marriage under Muslim personal law even if they married under the Special Marriage Act.

As per Mahomedan law, the marriage of a Muslim boy with a girl who is an idol or fire worshipper is not a valid marriage. It would be an irregular (fasid) marriage.

A relationship between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man was opposed by the family of the woman, who raised apprehensions that they would be boycotted in society if the inter-religious marriage took place. The family also claimed that the woman had taken jewelry from the family house before leaving to marry her Muslim partner.

The petitioners, on account of objections raised by the family, could not appear before the Marriage Officer to register their marriage under the Special Marriage Act. They sought protection to appear on the date fixed for the registration of their marriage under the Special Marriage Act.

The court referred to the discussion in the Supreme Court’s judgment in Mohammed Salim (D) Through LRs. & Ors. vs. Shamsudeen (D) Through LRs. & Ors regarding valid and invalid marriages under Muslim personal law.

The court did not agree with the arguments forwarded by the counsel that the Special Marriage Act would override personal law and noted, “Marriage under the Special Marriage Act would not legalize the marriage, which otherwise is prohibited under personal law. Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act provides that if the parties are not within prohibited relationship, then only marriage can be performed.”

Neither the woman nor the man wished to convert to another religion for the marriage. The couple did not wish to have a live-in relationship either.

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