Smt. Sunita Rani Alias Sunita and Another


State of UP And 3 Others

CASE NO.: WRIT – C No. – 10862 of 2024


The Special Marriage Act permits intercultural couples to get married without having to convert to one another’s religions, as confirmed by the Allahabad High Court. As held by J. Jyotsna Sharma that religious conversion are not required in these types of marriages as stated under Special Marriage Act.The Allahabad High Court has noted that, without change, the law does not prohibit an intercultural couple from requesting a court marriage through the Special Marriage Committee. The Special Marriage Act allows interfaith couples to be married, the court ruled.

The 1954 Special Marriage Act (SMA) established a legal framework for the union of individuals from diverse religious backgrounds. In an effort to foster a society in which love is accepted officially across India and overcomes religious boundaries, this law permits marriages to individuals of different religious backgrounds without requiring either partner to convert.


Introduced into the Indian legal system in 1954, the Special Marriage Act, 1954 is regarded as one of the most important secular efforts of independent India. The Act was designed to be an element of law that governed marriages that were prohibited from being solemnised by religious customs. All Indian nationals, whether they reside in India or abroad, are covered by the Act. Although people who live in Jammu and Kashmir but have their primary residence in another state are eligible for these provisions, the State of Jammu and Kashmir is not covered by this Act. It is a legal statute that creates a unique category of marriage through registration. One thing that makes marriage special is that it doesn’t need religious conversion or rejection. The Act aims to legalise marriages between people of different religions or castes, in contrast to traditional arranged marriages, which unite two families from the same caste or group. The Certificate of Registration issued under the Act is recognised as standard proof of marriage. As mentioned in the Preamble, the Act permits divorce as well as the registration of particular kinds of marriages under certain conditions.


Justice Jyotsna Sharma delivered the statement while defending a live-in couple who were threatened with death or serious injury as a result of their relationship. The State rejected the pair’s request, claiming that since their claim to be married by agreement was not recognised by the law, no safeguards could be given. The Court, however, rejected this claim, declaring that “marriage by agreement is certainly invalid in law.” But without conversion, the law does not prohibit the couples from requesting a judicial marriage under the Special Marriage Act,” Justice Sharma stated. The pair had notified the court that they intended to marry under the Special Marriage Act without altering their faith.

They stated that without security, they were unable to continue with the marriage ceremony. Their desire to be married lawfully and their dedication to upholding their respective faiths were noted by the court.

By the next hearing on July 10, the couple must have taken the necessary measures to legally wed under the Special Marriage Act and present documentation of their union. “The petitioners shall take steps to solemnise their wedding under the provisions of the Special Marriage Act and file documented evidence thereof with the additional affidavit by the next date of hearing to show their bonafides,” the Court instructed.



But in a related case concerning an interfaith couple, the Madhya Pradesh High Court recently rendered a different decision. The pair’s request for security was denied by the court, which reasoned that since a marriage is forbidden by Muslim personal law, it cannot be lawful under the Special Marriage Act. The court observed that, even if recognised under the Special Marriage Act, a Muslim boy’s marriage to an idolatress or a fire-worshipper is void under Mahomedan law. Such a marriage was classified as abnormal (fasid) by the court.
This ruling, rendered on May 27, demonstrates the disparate judicial viewpoints that several Indian High Courts have regarding interfaith unions.



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