CAN YOU MARRY ONLINE IN INDIA?
Rintu Thomas v. State of Kerala & Anr
- Bride Rintu Thomas and the groom, Anantha Krishnan Harikumaran Nair, are both lawyers and were to get married on December 23,2021. They had submitted a notice of intended marriage.
- However, as the groom could not travel to India from the UK due to travel restrictions, owing to a surge in Covid cases, Thomas moved the high court seeking a direction to the state of Kerala and the Marriage Officer, in the Sub-Registrar’s office to permit them to conduct their marriage via virtual or online mode.
The Court allowed the plea with the following conditions:
- The Marriage Officer under the Special Marriage Act is directed to solemnise or register the marriage, as the case may be, online subject to the conditions hereafter referred.
- The witnesses required for solemnisation of marriage shall be present before the Marriage Officer. The witnesses shall identify the parties who are online.
- The copies of the passport or any other public documents in respect of the parties who appear online shall be provided to the Marriage Officer for identification.
- Wherever signature of parties is required, that shall be affixed by the authorised Power of Attorney of the parties or any agent.
- The Marriage Officer shall fix the date and time and convey the same to the parties in advance.
- The Marriage Officer is free to fix the mode of online platform.
- On solemnisation of marriage, the certificate of marriage shall be issued in the manner as referred to in Section 13 of the Special Marriage Act.
- Online Marriage Between X&Y When They Are Physically At Different Geographical Locations And Priest Is Solemnizing Marriage Online.
- In the current case, when a priest is solemnizing marriage online, and bride and groom are at different geographical locations, it can be assumed that, all customs and ceremonies such as tying of tali, exchange of garlands and completion of saptapadi cannot be completed,
- Thus we can understand that, even if all the ceremonies prescribed, are not performed, one of it should be performed, which is not possible in current case as both groom and bride are at geographically different places. Hence we can state that, a Hindu Marriage in which the bride and groom are at geographically different location, and the priest is solemnizing the marriage virtually through online mode, is not valid.
- For a valid marriage (Nikah) in Muslim law, the essentials are:
- firstly capacity to marry, i.e. parties should have attained puberty.
- Secondly Marriage should in a form of acceptance and proposal, i.e. there should be a proposal from one end and acceptance from another.
- In Shia community of Muslims, witnesses aren’t necessary to constitute a valid marriage, but in Sunni community of Muslims, witnesses should be there.
- Thirdly the parties to should not be in a degree of prohibited relationship.
- the presence of dower is an essential to nikah.
- dower is not specified at time of marriage.
- it can be stated that, a Muslim marriage in which both bride and groom are at different geographical locations and a priest is solemnizing the marriage through video call, is valid according to Muslim Law.