The Foreign Marriage Act, 1969 followed the Special Marriage Act, 1954.The special Marriage act was enacted to facilitate inter-faith marriages. It was enacted on account of uncertainty of law related to foreign marriages.

Objects and Reasons

The statement of objects and reasons of the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969 expresses the holistic view, which led to the passing of the legislation. The same is reproduced below: –

“This Bill seeks to implement the Twenty-third Report of the Law Commission on the law relating to foreign marriages. There is, at present considerable uncertainty as to the law on the subject, as the existing legislation touches only the fringes of the subject and the matter is governed by principles of private international law which are by no means well-settled, and which cannot readily be applied to a country such as ours in which different marriage laws apply to different communities.

The Special Marriage Act, 1954 sought to remove the uncertainty to some extent by providing that marriages abroad between citizens of India who are domiciled in India might be solemnized under it. In the course of the debates in relation to that Act in Parliament, it was urged that a provision should be made for marriages abroad where one of the parties alone is an Indian citizen.

In this context, an assurance was given that Government would, after careful consideration, introduce comprehensive legislation on the subject of foreign marriages. The present Bill is the outcome of that assurance.

The Bill is modelled on the Special Marriage Act, 1954, and the existing English and Australian Legislation on the subject of foreign marriages, subject to certain important modifications rendered necessary by the peculiar conditions obtaining in our country.

The following are the salient features of the Bill:

(i) It provides for an enabling form of marriage more or less on the same lines as the Special Marriage Act, 1954 which can be availed of outside India where one of the parties to the marriage is an Indian citizen; the form of marriage thus provided being not in supersession of, but only in addition to or as an alternative to, any other form that might be permissible to the parties.

(ii) It seeks to lay down certain rules in respect of capacity of parties and conditions of validity of marriage and also provides for registration of marriage on lines similar to those in the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

(iii) The provisions of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, in regard to matrimonial reliefs are sought to be made applicable, with suitable modifications, not only to marriages solemnized or registered under the proposed legislation, but also to other marriages solemnized abroad to which a citizen of India is a party.”


  • Chapter II of the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969 provides for the solemnization of the foreign marriages.
  • Section 4 contained therein expresses the conditions relating to solemnization of foreign marriages.
  • The notice of an intended marriage is provided for in Section 5.
  •  The incorporation of the said marriage in the marriage notice book is contained in Section 6.
  • The publication of such notice is provided for in Section 7.
  • Objections to the proposed marriage can be filed under Section 8.
  • Consequent upon the fulfilment of the conditions and determination by the marriage officer, the place and form of solemnization of marriage are detailed in Section 13, whereupon, the marriage officer is required to enter a certificate of marriage, which is accepted as evidence of the fact that the marriage between the parties had been solemnized.
  • Chapter III mandates the registration of foreign marriages, solemnized under other laws.
  • Section 17 provides for necessary requirements therefor.
  • It would be relevant to mention, that matrimonial reliefs as are provided for under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 have been adopted for marriages registered under the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969.