The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872

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The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872
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Imperial Legislative Council

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Citation
Enacted by
Assented to

18 July 1872

Commenced

18 July 1872

Status: In force

The Indian Christian Marriage Act of 1872 is an act of the Parliament of India regulating the legal marriage of Indian Christians. It was enacted on July 18, 1872, and applies throughout India, excluding territories such as Cochin, Manipur, Jammu, and Kashmir.[1]

According to the act, a marriage is legitimate if at least one of the parties is Christian. An ordained minister of any church in India, a clergyman of the Church of Scotland, a marriage registrar or a special licensee may marry an aspiring couple under the act.[2] The marriage performer issues a marriage certificate. This certificate is recorded with the Registrar of Marriage (who is appointed by the government). As is common in other Indian marriage acts, the minimum age is 21 for the groom and 18 for the bride.[3]

The marriage ceremony must occur between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., unless the marriage performer secures special permission. The wedding may take place in a church; however, in cases where there is no church within five miles, an appropriate alternative location may be chosen.[1]

Conditions and requirements

The marriage is legitimate only under the following conditions:[3]

  • The groom must be at least 21 years old.
  • The bride must be at least 18 years old.
  • The agreement between the two parties must be free and voluntary and without compulsion, undue influence, or threat of violence.
  • The marriage must be witnessed by two reliable eye-witnesses and by a licensed marriage performer.

Marriage dissolution

Christian marriage in India can be dissolved under the Indian Divorce Act of 1869 (under Section X) under three conditions:[4]

  • By Section X A (as amended in 2001) both parties can file for a divorce by mutual consent.
  • According to Section X (I), either party can file for divorce on the grounds that the other party is of unsound mind. These grounds require two conditions:
    • The party must be medically certified as 'incurable.'
    • The relevant medical symptoms must have been noted at least two years prior to filing for divorce. If the symptoms were treated at any point in time, but ultimately became incurable, the period of two years will be counted from the date when the disease was certified as incurable.
  • Women can request a divorce under Section X (II) on three exclusive grounds: rape, sodomy and bestiality.

A woman married under The Indian Christian Marriage Act of 1872 can seek dissolution of her marriage under the Indian Divorce Act of 1869[5]

Offence

Any individual who performs a marriage ceremony when not appropriately licensed by the authorities or recognized by the church can be punished with a term of imprisonment of between seven and ten years.[1]

Remarriage

Under the special marriage act, any woman of any religion can marry or remarry without satisfying any religious ceremony. [6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872". lawyerslaw.org. Retrieved 4 June 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872". indiankanoon.org. Retrieved 4 June 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Christian Marriage and Registration Procedure in India". Helplinelaw.com. Retrieved 4 June 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Nambi, S (2005). "Marriage, mental health and the Indian legislation". Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 47 (1): 3–14. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.46067. PMC 2918313.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "From Law And Politics To Religion: In Conversation With Flavia Agnes". The Logical Indian. 2018-08-03. Retrieved 2018-08-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "From Law And Politics To Religion: In Conversation With Flavia Agnes". The Logical Indian. 2018-08-03. Retrieved 2018-08-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>