Allahabad High Court says mandatory publication of notice of intended marriage under special marriage act violates right to privacy

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The Allahabad High Court has said that the mandatory publication of notice of intended marriage under the special marriage act violated the right to privacy.

Justice Vivek Chaudhary, according to the Livelaw website, said that while giving notice under Section 5 ‘it shall be optional for the parties to the intended marriage to make a request in writing to the Marriage Officer to publish or not to publish a notice under Section 6.’

“In case they do not make such a request for publication of notice in writing, while giving notice the Marriage Officer shall not publish any such notice or entertain objections to the intended marriage and proceed with the solemnization of the marriage,” the Allahabad High Court said.



Justice Chaudhary continued, “Therefore, the requirement of publication of notice under Section 6 and inviting/entertaining objections under Section 7 can only be read as directory in nature, to be given effect only on request of parties to the intended marriage and not otherwise.”

The judge was hearing a habeas corpus petition alleging that an adult girl was kept in detention against her wishes for her decision to marry a boy from another religion. The couple said that she could have got married but the special marriage act required them to publish a 30-day notice and invite any objections from the public at large.

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