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Plea Moved In Delhi HC By Inter-Faith Foreigners For Solemnisation, Registration Of Marriage

The petitioners' lawyer submitted that one of his clients is an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and the right to get married is part of the petitioners' right to life. "In order to enable parties to address submissions, list the petition on December 15," the judge said.

A couple taking wedding vows during their marriage. (Representative image)
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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday agreed to hear a petition filed by two foreign nationals, seeking solemnisation and registration of their intended marriage under the Indian marriage law pertaining to inter-faith couples.

Granting the liberty to the counsels for the petitioners as well as the Delhi government to file a synopsis of their submissions, Justice Yashwant Varma observed that it is not possible for the State to prevent any inter-faith couple to marry but questioned whether just because the petitioners have been residing here, it would entitle them to claim the benefits under the Special Marriage Act.

The counsel for the petitioner told the court that his clients, who belong to two different faiths, have been residing in Delhi for more than six months and intend to solemnise and register their marriage under the Special Marriage Act, but are unable to apply online for the same as the website requires at least one of the parties to be an Indian.

The petitioners' lawyer submitted that one of his clients is an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and the right to get married is part of the petitioners' right to life. "In order to enable parties to address submissions, list the petition on December 15," the judge said.

The lawyer representing the Delhi government, Shadan Farasat, said while "marriage tourism" cannot be allowed on principle, in genuine cases, non-Indian parties who have been residing here for a sufficient period of time may be permitted to solemnise their marriage under the Special Marriage Act. One of the petitioners is a Hindu Canadian citizen who holds an OCI card and the other is a Christian American citizen.

In their plea, the petitioners -- represented by lawyer Rishabh Kapur -- said there is no bar on non-Indians from getting their marriages solemnised and registered under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 as long as they comply with the statutory requirements and preventing two consenting adults from getting married under the Act is a violation of their right to get married.

They also claimed that the high court has, in similar facts and circumstances, allowed parties to submit their documents offline to enable the facilitation of the registration of their marriages.

(With PTI inputs)

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