Review of Laws and Legislative Measures Affecting Women
by National Commission for Women (NCW)

No. 32: The Foreign Marriage Act, 1969 (33 of 1969)


Existing Provisions

Section 2: Definition - a) 'Degrees of prohibited relationship' shall have the same meaning as in the Special Marriage Act, 1954', b) 'district' in relation to a marriage officer, means the area within which the duties of his officer are to be discharged, c) 'foreign country' means a country or place outside India and includes a ship which is for the time being in the territorial waters of such a country or place, d) 'marriage officer' means a person appointed under Section 3 to be a marriage officer, e) 'official house' in relation to a marriage officer means - i) the official house or residence of the officer, ii) the office in which the business of the officer is transacted, and iii) a prescribed place and f) 'prescribed' means prescribed by rules made under this Act.

Section 4 : Conditions relating to solemnization of foreign marriages - a marriage between parties one of whom at least in a citizen of India may be solemnized under this Act by or before a Marriage Officer in a foreign country, if, at the time of the marriage, the following conditions are fulfilled, viz - a) neither party has a spouse living, b) neither party is an idiot or a lunatic, c) the bridegroom has completed the age of twenty-one years and the bridge the age of eighteen years at the time of the marriage ; and d) the parties are not within the degrees of prohibited, relationship.

Provided that where the personal law or a custom governing at least one of the parties permits of a marriage between them, such marriage may be solemnized, notwithstanding that they are within the degrees of prohibited relationship.

Section 18 : Matrimonial reliefs to be under Special Marriage Act, 1954 - 1) Subject to the other provisions contained in this section, the provision o Chapter IV, V, VI and VII of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, shall apply in relation to marriages solemnized in a foreign country between parties of whom one at least is a citizen of India as they apply in relation to marriages solemnized under that Act. 2) Every petition for relief under Chapter V or Chapter VI of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, as made applicable to the marriages referred to in sub-section, 1) shall be presented to the District Court within the local limits of whose ordinary civil jurisdiction.

Explanation : In this Section 'District Court' has the same meaning as in the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

Section 18 ( 3 ) : Nothing contained in this section shall authorize any Court - a) to make any decree of dissolution of marriage, except where - i) the parties to the marriage are domiciled in India at the time of the presentation of the petition, or ii) the petition, being the wife, was domiciled in India immediately before the marriage and has been residing in Indian for a period of not less than three years immediately proceeding the presentation of the petition, b) to make any decree annulling a voidable marriage, except where - i) the parties to the marriage are domiciled in India at the time of the presentation of the petition, ii) the marriage was solemnized under this Act and the petitioner being the wife, has been ordinarily resident in India for a period of three years immediately preceding the presentation of the petition; c) to make any decree of nullify of marriage in respect of a void marriage except where - i) either the parties to the marriage is domiciled in India at the time of the presentation of the petition, o ii) the marriage was solemnized under this Act and the petitioner is residing in India at the time of presentation of the petition d) to grant any other relief under Chapter V or Chapter VI of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, except where the petitioner is residing in India at the time of the presentation of the petition.

Section 18 ( 4 ): Nothing contained in sub-section 1) shall authorize any court to grant any relief under this Act in relation to any marriage in a foreign country not solemnized under it, if the grant of relief in respect of such marriage (whether on any of the grounds specified in the special Marriage Act, 1954 or otherwise) is provided for under any other law for the time being in force.

Section 29 : Amendments incorporated in the Special Marriage Act, 43 of 1954.

Suggested Amendment by NCW

Short Title: Throughout the Act, for the word 'solemnized' wherever it occurs, the word 'performed' shall be substituted, and such amendments as the rules of grammer may require shall also be made.

Section 2 - Definition : Clause a) of Section 2 shall be omitted.

Section 4 : Substitute the following - Conditions relating to performance of foreign marriage - A marriage between parties one of whom at least is a citizen of India may be performed under this Act, by or before a Marriage Officer in a foreign country, if the following conditions are fulfilled at the time of marriage, namely - a) such person, in the case of a male, has completed the age of twenty-one years, and in the case of a female, has completed the age of eighteen years; b)neither party has a spouse living; c) the parties to the marriage do no fall within the degrees of prohibited relationship; d) both the parties have consented to do the marriage.

Explanation - i) For the purpose of this section 'consent' shall not be valid if such consent is - a) obtained by force or fraud; or b) if either of the parties is incapable of giving consent by reason of unsoundness of mind. ii) two persons are within the 'degrees of prohibited relationship' - a) if one is a lineal ascendant or descendant of the other; or b) if one was the wife or husband of a lineal ascendant or descendant of the other; or c) if the two are related as brother and sister.

Section 18: a) For the Short title and sub-section 1) the following shall be substituted viz; 'Matrimonial reliefs to be under the Marriage Act, 1994 '.

Section 1) :Subject to the other provisions contained in this section, the provisions of sections 8,9,10,11 and 12 of the Marriage Act, 1994 shall apply in relation in marriages performed in a foreign country between parties of whom one at least is a citizen of India, as they apply in relation to marriages performed under that Act.

Section 18: b) For the words and 'Chapter V or Chapter VI of the Special Marriage Act, 1954', the words and figures 'sections 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the Marriage Act 1994' shall be substituted; ii) For the words 'the District Court' the words 'the Family Court' shall be substituted; iii) For the 'Explanation' the following Explanation shall be substituted viz 'Explanation' - In this section 'Family Court' has the same meaning as in the Marriage Act, 1994. c) In clause d) of sub-section 3), for the words and figures 'Chapter V or Chapter VI of the Special Marriage Act, 1954', the words and figures 'section 8,9,10 and 11 of the Marriage Act 1994' shall be substituted. d) In sub-section 4) for the words and figures, 'the Special Marriage Act, 1954' the words and figures 'the Marriage Act, 1994 ' shall be substituted.

 

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