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Ministry of Law and Justice

Act nº 33 of 1969

  • Chapter I
  • Chapter II
  • Chapter III
  • Chapter IV
  • Chapter V
  • Chapter VI
  • Schedules
  • Act nº 33 of 1969



[Act, No. 33 of 1969]

[31st August, 1969]


An Act to make provision relating to marriages of citizens of India outside India.

Be it enacted by Parliament in the Twentieth Year of the Republic of India as follows:--

Chapter I

Section 1. Short title

This Act may be called the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969,

Section 2. Definitions

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--

(a) "degrees of prohibited relationship" shall have the same meanings as in the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (43 of 1954);

(b) "district", in relation to a Marriage Officer, means the area within which the duties of his offer are to be discharged;

(c) "foreign country" means a country or place outside India, and includes a ship which is for the time being in the territorial waters of such a country or place;

(d) "Marriage Officer" means a person appointed under section 3 to be a Marriage Officer;

(e) "official house", in relation to a Marriage Officer, means--

(i) the official house of residence of the officer;

(ii) the office in which the business of the officer is transacted;

(iii) a prescribed place; and

(f) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act.

Section 3. Marriage Officers

For the purposes of this Act, the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint such of its diplomatic or consular officers as it may think fit to be Marriage Officers for any foreign country.

Explanation.--In this section, "diplomatic officer" means an ambassador, envoy, minister, high commissioner, commissioner, charge d' affairs or other diplomatic representative or a counsellor or secretary of an embassy, legation or high commission.

Chapter II

Section 4. Conditions relating to solemnization of foreign marriages

A marriage between parties one of whom at least is a citizen of India may be solem lized under this Act by or before a Marriage Officer in a foreign country, if, at the time of the marriage, the following conditions are fulfilled, namely:--

(a) neither party has a spouse living,

(b) neither party is an idiot or a lunatic,

(c) the bridegroom has completed the age of twenty one years and the bride the age of eighteen years at the time of the marriage, and

(d) the parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship:

Provided that where the personal law or a custom governing at least one of the parties permits of a marriage between them, such marriage may be solemnized, notwithstanding that they are within the degree of prohibited relationship.

Section 5. Notice of intended marriage

When a marriage is intended to be solemnized under this Act, the parties to the marriage shall give notice thereof in writing in the form specified in the First Schedule to the Marriage Officer of the district in which at least one of the parties to the marriage has resided for a period of not less than thirty days immediately preceding the date on which such notice is given, and the notice shall state that the party has so resided.

Section 6. Marriage Notice Book

The Marriage Officer shall keep all notices given under section 5 with the records of his office and shall also forthwith enter a true copy of every such notice in a book prescribed for that purpose, to be called the "Marriage Notice Book", and such book shall be open for inspection at all reasonable times, without fee, by any person desirous of inspecting the same.

Section 7. Publication of notice

Where a notice under section 5 is given to the Marriage Officer, he shall cause it to be published--

(a) in his own office, by affixing a copy thereof to a conspicuous place, and

(b) in India and in the country or countries in which the parties are ordinarily resident, in the prescribed manner.

Section 8. Objection to marriage

(1) Any person may, before the expiration of thirty days from the date of publication of the notice under section 7, object to the marriage on the ground that it would contravene one or more of the conditions specified in section 4.

Explanation.--Where the publication of the notice by affixation under clause (a) of section 7 and in the prescribed manner under clause (b) of that section is on different dates, the period of thirty days shall, for the purposes of this sub-section, be computed from the later date.

(2) Every such objection shall be in writing signed by the person making it or by any person duly authorised to sign on his behalf, and shall slate the ground of objections; and the Marriage Officer shall record the nature of the objection in his Marriage Notice Book.

Section 9. Solemnization of marriage where no objection made

If no objection is made within the period specified in section 8 to an intended marriage, then, on the expiry of that period, the marriage may be solemnized.

Section 10. Procedure on receipt of objection

(1) If an objection is made under section 8 to an intended marriage, the Marriage Officer shall not solemnize the marriage until he has inquired into the matter of the objection in such manner as he thinks fit and is satisfied that it ought not to prevent the solemnization of the Marriage or the objection is withdrawn by the person making it.

(2) Where a Marriage Officer after making any such inquiry entertains a doubt in respect of any objection, he shall transmit the record with such statement respecting the matter as he thinks fit to the Central Government; and the Central Government, after making such further inquiry into the matter and after obtaining such advice as it thinks fit, shall give its decision thereon in writing to the Marriage Officer, who shall act in conformity with the decision of the Central Government.

Section 11. Marriage not to be in contravention of local laws

(1) The Marriage Officer may, for reason to be recorded in writing refuse to solemnize a marriage under this Act if the intended marriage is prohibited by any law in force in the foreign country where it is to be solemnized.

(2) The Marriage Officer may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, refuse to solemnize a marriage under this Act on the ground that in his opinion, the solemnization of the marriage would be inconsistent with international law or the comity of nations.

(3) Where a Marriage Officer refuses to solemnize a marriage under this section, any party to the intended marriage may appeal to the Central Government in the prescribed manner within a period of thirty days from the date of such refusal; and the Marriage Officer shall act in conformity with the decision of the Central Government on such appeal.

Section 12. Declaration by parties and witnesses

Before the marriage is solemnized, the parties and three witnesses shall, in presence of the Marriage Officer, sign a declaration in the form specified in the Second Schedule, and the declaration shall be countersigned by the Marriage Officer.