Kerala HC validates online marriages conducted under Special Marriage Act

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Representative Image | Photo: AFP

Kochi: In a significant ruling on Wednesday, the Kerala High Court stated that the registering authority cannot deny the validation of a marriage conducted online under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The decision was reached by a division bench comprising Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Sophy Thomas.

The high court’s interim order dated September 9, 2021 in this regard has been made absolute by the bench, which opined that the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 should be taken into account while considering the Special Marriage Act.

The court also observed that Section 6 of the IT Act authorises the use of electronic documents.

Under the Special Marriage Act, the bride and groom had to appear before the marriage officer to get married. However, during the pandemic, several petitions were filed before the court seeking lenience in the provisions. Following this, the court allowed the validation of a marriage online.

Court’s directions for online marriages

  • Witnesses should appear in person before the marriage officer.
  • Witnesses must identify the bride and groom appearing online.
  • A copy of passport or any other identification document must be given to the officer to identify the bride and groom.
  • The date and time of marriage should be decided by the marriage officer and informed soon.
  • The officer can decide on the online platform for the marriage.
  • After the marriage, the certificate must be handed over as per law.

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