On 4th November 2022, the Delhi High Court, comprising Justice Yashwant Varma observed that the state could not ban interfaith couples from marrying when applying for marriage registration.
Justice Yashwant Verma heard the plea of a team, a Hindu woman with Canadian citizenship and a Christian man with American citizenship, who were considering marriage. The bench heard the plea by foreigners, Hindu women and Christian men seeking to register their marriages under the Special Marriage Act, of 1954. Petitioner's Attorney, Rishabh Kapur contended that the couple had lived in Delhi for more than six months. They intend to continue their residency and get married under the Special Marriage Act. Only under the Special Marriage Act can foreign interfaith couples wishing to maintain their faith apply for marriage celebration and registration. He said that if a team were to marry under different laws, the faith of one of them has to be changed. On the other hand, the Attorney for Delhi government submitted that although “Marriage Tourism” is prohibited as per the principle but in relevant and genuine matters, foreigners staying in India for sufficing period might be allowed to sanctify their marriage under the concerned Statute. According to a petition filed by Advocate Rishabh Kapur, the couple said that they had applied for marriage on the Delhi government website. However, when they tried to apply, they got an error message that at least one of the parties must be an Indian citizen. After that, the couple could not complete the procedure further. They were informed by the Local Magistrate's office (SDM) that the website would require the party's details to be made up in a specific manner. Thus, the petitioners requested an order to allow marriages to be registered under the SMA, setting a time limit. This petition, under an order of the Delhi High Court in 2021, requested that the Delhi government change its policy and make the necessary changes to the e-portal so that foreigners planning to marry in Delhi can apply for marriage registration. The petition says the government has not taken steps to make changes since the directive was issued 16 months ago. The judge listed the issue for further consideration on 15th December 2022 so that both parties could file their written submissions by that time. Hence, considering all the facts of the case and the arguments advanced, the Delhi High Court held that the State cannot say that it did not approve of the marriage of inter-faith couples.
Tags : #HighCourt #Delhi #Inter-faith #SpecialMarriageAct