Once a marriage ceremony is over, the couples follow marriage registration process as per their state laws. For Christians, Muslims, Parsis, Jews, and Baha’i followers, their respective religious authorities issue a marriage certificate which is the legal evidence of marriage. Therefore, a certificate from the Marriage Registrar is not required. However, a certificate issued by a religious body is not considered valid among Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. Hence, a formal marriage certificate must be obtained from the Registrar.
A marriage by an Indian with a foreigner is governed by the Foreign Marriage Act. The Act was first enacted in 1903 at the time of British rule, and remained in force for over six decades.
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 provides legal recognition to inter-faith marriages in India. However, a problem arises in determining rightful ownership of such couples’ properties in case of succession.
The subject of inheritance is dealt exclusively by the personal and family laws of the different religions in India. This poses a dilemma of determining which law of succession to consider for a child born out of a marriage registered under the Special Marriage Act.