A Tamil Nadu woman is all set to marry an American national of Indian origin through virtual mode, thanks to the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, which has given the go-ahead for the online wedding.
Right to marry is a fundamental human right and sections 12 and 13 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 should be so construed as to effectuate this right, Justice G R Swaminathan held, after hearing a writ petition.
"Section 12 (2) of the Act states that the marriage may be solemnized in any form which the parties may choose to adopt.
In this case, the parties have chosen the online mode. Since law has to keep pace with the march of technology, the choice of the parties herein very much passes legal muster." Vasmi Sudharshini P N, the petitioner sought a direction to the respondent Sub-Registrar, Kanyakumari to solemnize her marriage with Rahul L Madhu through video conference.
She prayed that the wedding should be registered under Special Marriage Act, 1954 and a marriage certificate should be issued.
The court directed the Sub-Registrar to facilitate the solemnization of the marriage of the writ petitioner with Rahul L Madhu in the presence of three witnesses through virtual mode.
The parties to the marriage are very much having the capacity to marriage, Justice Swaminathan wrote in the judgment and cited a ruling that held that it is not necessary that both the parties must be Indian citizens.
"Therefore, I hold that there is no legal impediment whatsoever for solemnizing the marriage.
The petitioner is having power of attorney from Rahul L Madhu. After the marriage is solemnized, the petitioner can affix her signature in the marriage certificate book both for herself and on behalf of Rahul L Madhu. Thereupon, the certificate of marriage shall be issued under Section 13 of the Act by the respondent." Sudharshini, a resident of Kanyakumari and Rahul Madhu, who is an American national, fell in love. The duo wanted to get married and Rahul visited India.
On May 5, 2022, he submitted a joint application along with the petitioner to the Sub Registrar under the Special Marriage Act. After a notice was published, objections were received from Rahul's father and another person.
The marriage officer came to the conclusion that the objections are not reasonable. The mandatory 30 days period expired on June 12, 2022.
The parties appeared before the Sub-Registrar the following day. However, for reasons not quite discernible, the respondent did not facilitate the solemnization of marriage, the court said.
Rahul could not wait further as he had to return owing to visa requirements. The duo prayed that they should be allowed to solemnize their marriage under Section 12 of the Act even though the bride is in India and the bridegroom is in America.
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