Breach of Privacy vis-à-vis Special Marriage Act

The Special Marriage Act provides for a special type of marriage, registration and divorce. Marriage between any two persons who serve in any religion or denomination may be solemnized under this Act. As a state law, playing a key role in liberating people from the traditional requirements of marriage, the court ruled that international marriage law that makes it accessible to all and includes personal information, including cell phone numbers, for adults seeking marriage is a challenge in the Supreme Court. However, certain provisions of the Act, such as Section 6, require that marriage details be published within 30 days of the office of the Registrar of Couples.


The law of the country established the right to life as a fundamental right and the courts have established a purpose for life. Article 21 of the Constitution of India states, no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality. The courts have argued that the word life not only refers to nourishment but also includes dignity, liberty, confidentiality, etc. Privacy is an essential requirement for a meaningful life. The term ‘privacy’ is not defined in the Constitution and is subject to the definition of jurisprudence, which has made it a fundamental right within Article 21. Privacy includes physical non-interference, physical integrity, intellectual freedom and confidentiality. The Union of India has defined privacy as an essential element of life and is part of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21. However, the question remains as to whether this right violates the rights of an institution such as marriage. Lawmakers and translators have tried to balance both sides.


When the legal doctrine of marriage emphasizes the moral purpose of marriage is a duty and a right to sexual rights when it comes to conflict with one’s sexual authority, who should win? India’s patriarchal system gives men a higher status. Legal philosophers believe that marriage unites two people as one unit and that the right to marry exceeds the individual rights. Although the constitution recognizes privacy and freedom as the fundamental rights of all people, when it comes to marriage, a woman’s claim remains dead. This describes the legal rights of a woman in addition to the legal rights of a man in his wife’s body. Marital rape or rape by a partner is a sexual act with your partner without the consent of your spouse. Lack of consent is important and does not necessarily involve physical violence. Marital rape is considered a form of domestic violence and sexual assault. The marital bond reduces a woman to a slave who has rights over everything except her body. She must obey her husband’s sexual request regardless of her will or freedom of choice. Rape is a crime in India.

Being the law of the land plays a major role in liberating people from the traditional requirements of enforcing marriage. However, many of its provisions are not in line with its objectives. Despite being aware of the problems that exist, our Parliament has not shown any seriousness in fixing them through the necessary amendments which are necessarily needed.


A written petition challenging certain provisions of the Special Marriage Act for those who violate the fundamental rights of citizens under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution. The rules require that those in a marriage publish their personal information and make it available to the public within 30 days of the intended marriage. These provisions allow anyone to lodge objections to marriage and to authorize the Marriage Officer to file such objections, “These provisions violate the fundamental rights of couples intending to marry, depriving them of their right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution,” Supreme Court said. “This provision also discriminates against them and violates Article 14 (the right to equality),” the petition stated. The petition sought to undermine Sections 6(2), 7, 8 and 10 of the Special Marriage Act “as invalid, unlawful and unconstitutional.” a tangible object, which violates the foundation of the right to privacy and equality.

1) Section 5 of the Act is the first restriction on the notification of the parties to the event which requires that at least one of them must remain in the district for a period of not less than 30 days immediately before the date of such notice at the District Marriage Office.

2) Section 6 requires the Marriage Office to make copies of all notices open for inspection at all reasonable times, free of charge, by any person wishing to inspect the same, and to publish all notices by placing a copy in a conspicuous place in the office. If one of the parties to the proposed marriage is not a permanent resident of the district where the notice was given, the marriage officer of that region must send a notice to the Marriage Officer of that region where the parties may be permanent residences and that official, too, should announce it.

3) Section 7 makes any person within 30 days from the date of publication of the notice, object to the marriage on the grounds that he or she has violated one or more of the conditions set out in section 4 where there is no living partner, no party can give consent in the case of a  forbidden relationship .

4) Section 8 requires that the Marriage Officer inquire into the objection and be satisfied that it does not prevent the renewal of the marriage. If the objection is lodged within 30 days, any party to the proposed marriage may appeal to the district court, whose decision will be final.

5) Section 19 punishes for misconduct. It states that a marriage instituted under the Act of any member of a non-partisan family who professes to be a Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, or Jain will be deemed to be a separation from that family.


These practices clearly violate organizations that have the right to privacy as most couples who marry under the Act for the sake of their family oppose their marriage. It is possible that those who oppose the marriage, intend to harass the couple to get married and even force them to withdraw from their intended marriage, which is why these provisions are an open invitation to harass parties.

It has been observed in many cases that some enthusiastic couples have sent notices to the parties’ permanent addresses and demanded verification of addresses through a completely unnecessary Executive Station under the Act.

Justice S. Ravindra Bhat in the case of Pranav Kumar Mishra v. Govt. of NCT, Delhi[1], the Supreme Court of Delhi, stated: “A special marriage law was enacted to constitute a special kind of marriage in any Indian state with a different religion or desire for a particular type of marriage. Improper disclosure of marital plans by two adults who have the right to confirm it, in some cases, may involve the marriage itself. In some cases, it could endanger the health or well-being of a single group because of parental intervention. In such cases, if such a procedure is approved by the authorities, it is ridiculous and illegal.

Privacy is an essential requirement for a meaningful life. The term ‘privacy’ does not appear anywhere in the Constitution and is subject to the definition of a judge, which has made it a fundamental right within Article 21. Confidentiality includes physical restraint, physical integrity, intellectual freedom and confidentiality. The Official view of privacy in marriage is a bond of love and trust. The institution has granted certain rights to each partner but there are cases where the social and legal entity violates the privacy of the partners and the courts have a duty to consider the matter to determine the legitimacy of the intervention. In Rajalakshmi M. Bhuvaneswari v. Nagaphomendar Rayala[2], the husband demanded the recording of his wife’s phone with another man with the intention of proving her illegal relationship with the man but the wife denied it. The court stated that no husband would want such a thing and cannot touch her phone because it violates her right to privacy and marriage does not give him this wrong right. In Sharda v Dharmpal[3], the court ruled that the right to privacy was restricted, which is why in these divorce proceedings, the court ruled that it was necessary to file medical reports if that was the case and it was not illegal. In Surjit Singh Thind v. Kanwaljit Kaur[4], the husband wanted to present his wife’s virginity test as he wanted a divorce because he was powerless. The court rejected the husband’s application and found that requesting a woman to have her virginity tested violates her right to life and dignity under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The court has so far protected private spaces in marriage institutions but other aspects of women’s rights are still being considered. India is yet to make marital rape an offence and this violation of her sexual sovereignty continues.


The provision of a monthly gap as stipulated in section 5 should be repealed to prevent parties from being abused and section 4 makes sense but the fact that the same conditions do not apply to a civil marriage makes one wonder whether they are right and the rights of spouses who intend to marry under this so-called state law. My view is that the marriage was a private decision by two consenting elders and, by making their details public, the State was infringing on the couple’s right to make decisions in their marriage “.

“Marriage reflects the private decision taken by two consenting adults and the SMA (Special Marriage Act) was established to provide for a world-class marriage. The Special Marriage Act provides provisions that allow ethical police officers and guardians who receive a different religious spirit from different people or even marriage lovers who hate it. This Act is regarded as an example of the Uniform Civil Code. It is also up to the Supreme Court to further its analysis of a social code that undermines individual freedoms and privacy.


[1] Pranav Kumar Mishra v. Govt. of N.C.T Delhi, WP(C) No.748/2009.

[2] Rayala M. Bhuvaneswari v. Naga Phanindra Rayala, AIR 2008 AP 98.

[3] Sharda v. Dharmpal, AIR 2003 SC 3450.

[4] Surjit Singh Thind v. Kanwaljit Kaur, AIR 2003 P&H 353.


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