Madras HC Quotes Swami Vivekananda While Allowing Virtual Wedding Of Indian Bride And American Bridegroom
While observing that Right to Marry is a fundamental human right, the Madras High Court allowed for solemnization of the marriage of a couple through online mode.
"Right to marry is a fundamental human right. Sections 12 and 13 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 should be so construed as to effectuate this right. Section 12 (2) of the Act states that the marriage may be solemnized in any form which the parties may choose to adopt. In this case, the parties have chosen the online mode. Since law has to keep pace with the march of technology, the choice of the parties herein very much passes legal muster.", the Bench of Justice GR Swaminathan observed.
The Court also observed that the Hindu householder has to perform hundreds of ceremonies but not one can be duly performed according to the shastras, if he has not a wife to complement it with her part in it.
"Now Rama's wife was not with him then, as she had been banished. So, the people asked him to marry again. But at this request Rama for the first time in his life stood against the people. He said, "this cannot be. My life is Sita's". So, as a substitute, a golden statue of Sita was made, in order that the ceremony could be accomplished"".The Bench observed, quoting from Swami Vivekananda's lecture delivered at the Shakespeare Club, California.
In this case, the petitioner- Vasmi Sudharshini fell in love with an American national and both wanted to get married. Here the demand made by the parties was that they be allowed to solemnize their marriage under Section 12 of the Special Marriage Act 1954, Act even though the bride was in India and the bridegroom was in USA.
Advocate M. Gnanagurunathan appeared for the petitioner whereas Additional Government Pleader K.S. Selvaganesan appeared for the respondent-sub-registrar.
The Court noted that parties have the choice to adopt any form of solemnization of marriage and the form must be recognised and reasonable and not against public policy.
"In this case, the parties do not propose to conduct proxy marriage. The bridegroom will be very much present. The only distinguishing feature will be his presence being virtual and not physical. Section 12 of the Act does not exclude virtual presence.", the Court noted.
The Court observed that the right to marry is a fundamental right and Section 12 (2) of the said Act states that the marriage may be solemnized in any form which the parties may choose to adopt and in this case, the parties had chosen the online mode.
Therefore the Court directed the Sub-registrar, Kanyakumari to facilitate the solemnization of the marriage of the writ petitioner in the presence of three witnesses through virtual mode.
"I hold that there is no legal impediment whatsoever for solemnizing the marriage. The petitioner is having power of attorney from Rahul L.Madhu. After the marriage is solemnized, the petitioner can affix her signature in the marriage certificate book both for herself and on behalf of Rahul L.Madhu. Thereupon, the certificate of marriage shall be issued under Section 13 of the Act by the respondent.", the Court held while allowing the petition.
Cause Title- Vasmi Sudarshini v. The Sub-Registrar