In India people can solemnize marriage under their personal laws that is The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955/ The Muslim Marriage Act, 1954 or Special Marriages Act, 1954. While under personal laws it is pertinent that both parties must be of the same religion for example to marry under Muslim Marriage Act,1954 the couple must be Muslim or the wife must convert to Islam and likewise under Hindu Marriage Act,1955 the couple must be Hindu to solemnize a marriage but Special Marriage Act,1954 allows any two individuals to come together and solemnize and register a marriage, it is not necessary that both the parties must belong to same religion and it is also not necessary to be an Indian National meaning even Foreign nationals and an Indian national or two foreign nationals can marry under Special Marriage Act,1954 further it is not mandatory for Hindus and Muslim to marry under their respective personal laws and they can choose to marry under Special Marriage Act if they choose to.
Conditions relating to solemnization of marriages under the Special Marriage Act:
Neither party should have a spouse living.
The male must have completed the age of twenty-one years and the female must have completed the age of eighteen years.
The parties should not be within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two.
That neither party is incapable of giving a valid consent to the marriage due to unsoundness of mind.
That neither party has been suffering from mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and the procreation of children.
That neither party has been subject to recurrent attacks of epilepsy or insanity.
Procedure for solemnization of marriages under the Special Marriage Act:
The parties have to file a Notice of Intended Marriage in the specified form to the Marriage Registrar 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.
The notice given is then published by affixing it in some conspicuous place in the office of the Marriage Officer, and before the expiration of thirty days from the date on which the notice was published any person can object to the marriage that it would contravene any of the conditions necessary for the marriage.
After the expiry of thirty days from the date on which the notice was published, if no objection is received, the marriage may be solemnized.
Before the marriage is solemnized the parties and three witnesses have to sign a declaration form, and the declaration has to be counter signed by the Marriage Officer.
After the marriage has been solemnized the Marriage Officer shall enter a certificate in the Marriage Certificate Book and this shall be signed by the parties to the marriage and the three witnesses and this shall be conclusive evidence of the marriage.
Both parties are required to be present at the time of filing of the initial notice as well as after 30 days for the solemnization and registration of marriage.