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Plea in Delhi High Court against 30-day notice rule for weddings under Special Marriage Act

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New Delhi (ILNS): The Delhi High Court today sought responses from the Centre and the Delhi government on a plea challenging the provision of issuing a public notice to invite objections under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

The bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan was hearing a petition filed on behalf of a couple,  Nida Rehman and Mohan Lal, both belonging to different religious communities. The couple has challenged the vires of Sections 6 and 7 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 wherein public notice has to be issued, inviting objections mentioned in section 4 of the Act to the marriage within 30 days. The petition prays for the declaration of the said procedure as null and void and ultra vires of the Constitution.

The petitioners have submitted that objections mentioned in section 4(b)(c) of the Act can be ascertained on the basis of certificates issued from a government hospital or any prescribed authority. The objection under section 4(d) of the Act is inapplicable to inter-religious marriages, therefore the 30-day notice period violates the fundamental rights of the petitioners.

The petitioners have further submitted that objection under section 4(a) of the Act is based on a presumption and bias running against inter-religious marriages and the same conditionality can well arise in other religious marriages also, but they are exempted from the 30-day notice period, depriving petitioners from their life and liberty.

The petitioners have further submitted that the procedure of issuance of public notice for 30 days inviting objections to the marriage, which is a private affair, is a sheer breach of privacy of the persons applying for marriage.

The petitioners have also sought doing away with the 30-day notice period requirement and registration of the marriage of the petitioners.

-ILNS

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