As a law firm, we would like to provide our informative and detailed opinion on the legal requirements for Non Resident Indians (NRIs) seeking to solemnize their marriage in India. The legal framework governing foreign marriages in India is primarily guided by the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969.
Section 4 of the Foreign Marriage Act specifies that when one of the parties to a marriage is not a citizen of India and resides outside India, such marriage may be solemnized before any diplomatic or consular officer of India in the country where both parties are residing. However, it should be noted that under Indian law, any individual can only have one legally recognized spouse at a time.
Under Section 13-B of the same act, proof of a foreign marriage must be submitted in two parts – an original certificate from the foreign government indicating that the marriage was performed according to local laws and an affidavit confirming compliance with related provisions. This requirement ensures that marriages between NRIs are conducted legitimately without falling prey to fraudulent practices.
Moreover, each state within India also has its own registration act for marriages which needs strict adherence. For instance, Karnataka has The Karnataka Marriages (Registration and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act which mandates compulsory registration within three months after solemnization.
In addition to these regulations mentioned above relevant case laws help us understand this better:
1. In Shalu Ojha vs Prashant Ojha case (2005), it was held by Hon’ble High Court of Delhi that as per HMA when both spouses profess different religions i.e., Hindus marrying Muslims or other religious people etc., then they will get married under Special Marriages Act only.
2.In Gurbachan Singh vs Darshan Kaur Grewal case(1993), Supreme Court stated that If either party indicates his/her unwillingness towards getting married subsequently there cannot be valid consent.
3.Smt Preeti Kumari vs Ajay Kumar Mishra case(2017), Allahabad High Court held that if the NRI groom refuses to take his wife to abroad then it would be a ground for divorce even though she has insisted and accepted his proposal with all her heart.
4. In Ved Pal vs Rajni Bali case(2006) Punjab and Haryana HC observed that in proceedings where matrimonial dispute arises under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) ,the burden of proof lies on the person who makes an accusation.
The above-discussed provisions of law along with relevant case laws make it clear that any marriage solemnized by NRIs in India should comply with Indian law as well as local laws, wherever applicable. This is important not only to ensure that such marriages are legal but also for other reasons like property rights, inheritance rights, visa requirements, etc.
It is pertinent for Non Resident Indians to consult a professional before considering their marriage registration process in India .This will ensure compliance with all relevant legal requirements while avoiding unnecessary complications later on.