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Advertising is not mandatory for marriage under the Special Marriage Act – Allahabad High Court

Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court has passed a landmark judgment on the registration of marriages under the Special Marriage Act. The High Court observed that under the Special Marriage Act, the requirement to display the details of a married couple as notice is an encroachment on the fundamental right to privacy. A bench of Justice Vivek Choudhary said the provision was against the freedom to marry without any interference. The 1954 law requires that the couple’s name, date of birth, age, occupation, parents’ name, identification information, and phone number to be displayed.

The couple can choose whether or not to publish the information when applying for the Marriage Registration. The court ruled that the officer could not disclose the information unless the couple gave such instructions. However, the court held that the Marriage Registration Officer can always provide information to verify the identity, age, and consent of the parties to any marriage under the 1954 Act or to verify the validity of the marriage law. The court ruled on a habeas corpus petition filed by a young man alleging that he had unjustly detained a woman he wanted to marry. The couple filed a petition in the court seeking to have their marriage secured under the Special Marriage Act. However, the law requires a 30-day notice and a public outcry. Both argued that such an announcement was an invasion of privacy and would unnecessarily interfere with the freedom of choice in marriage.

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