Allahabad High Court : Publication of notice under Special Marriage Act is optional

The Allahabad High Court has ruled that it would be optional and not mandatory for inter-faith couple to publish a notice about their intended marriage.

The court in the case of Shafiya Sulthana Thru husband Abhishek Kumar Pandey v. State of UP held that:
The provision for mandatory publication of a 30 day notice before marriage which is derived through simplistic reading of the law, would invade the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy, included within the sphere of freedom to choose for marriage without interference of the State.

Justice Vivek Chaudhary mandated that while giving notice under Section 5 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 it shall be optional for the parties to the intended marriage to make a request in writing to the marriage officer to publish or not to publish under the other provisions of the Act.

The court further held that the requirement of publication of notice under Section 6 and inviting or entertaining objections under Section 7 of the Special Marriage Act, can only be read as directory in nature, and can be applicable only on the request of the parties and not otherwise.
The court also stated that these provisions should be in a way to protect fundamental rights and not violate them.

The Judge also directed the senior registrar of the court to send a copy of the order to U.P. Chief Secretary.
The court held that these orders are to be communicated to all authorities in order to protect fundamental rights.

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