The Supreme Court has dismissed a writ petition challenging provisions of the Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954 requiring couples to give a notice declaring their intent to marry 30 days before their marriage.



  • The Supreme Court has dismissed a writ petition challenging the Constitutional validity of certain provisions of the SMA.
  • The petition was dismissed on the grounds that the petitioner was no longer an aggrieved party.
  • Also, another writ petition in Nandini Praveen vs Union of India & Others filed on similar grounds was admitted by the Supreme Court in 2020.
    • In this case, court is waiting for the reply of Government.



  • All marriages in India can be registered under the respective personal law Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Muslim Marriage Act, 1954, or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
  • It is the duty of the judiciary to ensure that the rights of both the husband and wife are protected.


About the Special Marriage Act, 1954

  • The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is an Act of the Parliament of India with provision for civil marriage for people of India and all Indian nationals in foreign countries, irrespective of religion or faith followed by either party.
  • A marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 allows people from two different religious backgrounds to come together in the bond of marriage.
  • The Act lays down the procedure for both solemnisation and registration of marriage, where either of the husband or wife or both are not Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, or Sikhs.


Key provisions

  • Prior notice to the marriage officer —
      • Section 5 of the SMA — Couples have to serve a notice with the relevant documents to the Marriage Officer 30 days before the intended date of marriage.
  • Registration process —
      • Both parties are required to be present after the submission of documents for issuance of public notice inviting objections.
      • Registration is done 30 days after the date of notice after deciding any objection that may have been received during that period by the SDM.
      • Both parties along with three witnesses are required to be present on the date of registration.


What does the petition seek?

  • The writ petition has called certain provisions of SMA, 1954 violative of the right to privacy guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
      • This is because these provisions require couples to give a notice of 30 days before the date of marriage inviting objections from the public.
  • As per the petition, these provisions contravene Article 14 as well as Article 15 on right to equality as these requirements are absent in personal laws.


Provisions that have been challenged

  • The writ seeks striking down of provisions that follow in Section 6 to Section 10.
      • Section 6 requires such a notice to be then entered into the Marriage Notice Book maintained by the Marriage Officer, which can be inspected by “any person desirous of inspecting the same.
      • Section 7 provides the process for making an objection.
      • Section 8 specifies the inquiry procedure to be followed after an objection has been submitted.
  • The petition contends that these provisions make the personal information of the individuals open to public scrutiny.
  • Hence, these provisions seriously damage one’s right to have control over her/his personal information and its accessibility.
  • Also, these public notices have been used by anti-social elements to harass couples getting married.