30-day notice under UP Special Marriage Act optional, says HC

Express News Service
NEW DELHI:  In a big relief to inter-faith couples, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday ruled that the publication of notice of intended marriages under the Special Marriage Act can’t be mandatory as it violates the right to privacy. 

The court said publication of such a notice and inviting objections to it, “would be an infringement of the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy”. It is up to the couple to decide whether to publish the notice or not, said Justice Vivek Chaudhary. The single-judge bench passed the order while hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by a Muslim woman who had converted to Hinduism to marry a Hindu man.

The petitioner said her father was not letting her live with her husband. The bench also observed that the publication of notice 30 days ahead of the intended marriage will affect the couple’s freedom to solemnise the marriage “without interference from state and non-state actors.” If the couple did not make a written request for publication of notice, the Marriage Officer “shall not publish any such notice or entertain objections to the intended marriage and proceed with the solemnization of the marriage”, said the 47-page judgment.