Arya Samaj and Special Marriage Act for Christian-Hindu couple

#1 Apr 17th, 2016, 00:09
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  • namaskaram is offline
#1
Hi,

I have a question regarding the Special Marriage Act.

If a (German) Christian marries an (Indian) Hindu in an Arya Samaj ceremony and they register the marriage under the Special Marriage Act is the wedding valid?

For the Hindu Marriage Act both have to be Hindu and the Special Mariage Act does not care about religion of the spouses at all. But how about the combination mentioned above?

I am asking because Germany insists that marriages have to follow the law of the country where the marriage takes place. And at the moment the couple seems to be married in India but not in Germany and are stuck.

Any help?

Best wishes
Anjali
#2 Apr 17th, 2016, 01:59
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#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by namaskaram View Post If a (German) Christian marries an (Indian) Hindu in an Arya Samaj ceremony and they register the marriage under the Special Marriage Act is the wedding valid?
It's valid. The SMA doesn't care what kind of ceremony took place, so long as the registration is done.

Quote:
I am asking because Germany insists that marriages have to follow the law of the country where the marriage takes place. And at the moment the couple seems to be married in India but not in Germany and are stuck.

Any help?
Hmm, why aren't they considered married there? Are they living there? I mean, an SMA marriage is a non-issue for couples living here regardless of ceremony, and I've never heard of another country any such couple travels to having a problem with that.

SMA marriage means the couple are married as per Indian laws, plain and simple.
#3 Apr 17th, 2016, 02:43
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#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by namaskaram View Post If a (German) Christian marries an (Indian) Hindu in an Arya Samaj ceremony and they register the marriage under the Special Marriage Act is the wedding valid?
This calls for pedantry. Sorry, but it does, and there are those who consider it legally important...

"If a (German) Christian marries an (Indian) Hindu in an Arya Samaj ceremony ..." Then, as I understand it, she isn't a Christian any longer, because the Arya Samaj wedding includes the conversion to Hindu. Thus, the marriage is between two Hindus and can be valid under the Hindu Marriage Act. assuming that aurthorities, religious and civil accept the validity of that conversion.

"they register the marriage under the Special Marriage Act" Then they are married under the Special Marriage Act. it is complete in itself: wedding, registration... and religion is irrelevant.

As Dilliwala says.
Quote:
SMA marriage means the couple are married as per Indian laws, plain and simple.
It bears repeating!
~
Life gets aadhar every day.
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#4 Apr 17th, 2016, 10:32
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#4
Thanks for your replies Nick and Diliwala!

We might find this stupid but it is like it is. At the moment Germany considers them as unmarried and he cannot come to Germany with the family reunion visa.

Do you have an idea how to prove that it is possible to marry in a Hindu ceremony and getting it registered under the SMA is legal? Who or what could support that?

The problem is that Germany insists that a Christian cannot legally get married under a Hindu ceremony. And I think the only way out of this mess (besides getting divorced and remarry) is to insist that it is the SMA that they registered under.

I think they need a highly official paper, official rules and regulations about the SMA. But is there anything like that? Are there Indian lawyers who could help? (I know they need one of the really good ones.)

Thanks,
Anjali
#5 Apr 17th, 2016, 14:36
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#5
The mistake was to mention the Hindu ceremony. Does the SMA certificate mention it?

They should have kept that to themselves and just gone with the SMA, decorated with whatever legalisation, apostelizing [?] etc is in vogue or expected these days.
#6 Apr 17th, 2016, 16:51
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#6
I had started replying, and then the screen went blank . Second attempt.


Quote:
Originally Posted by namaskaram View Post We might find this stupid but it is like it is. At the moment Germany considers them as unmarried and he cannot come to Germany with the family reunion visa.
Hmm, the Germans can be pretty stubborn and bureaucratic when they want to.

Quote:
Do you have an idea how to prove that it is possible to marry in a Hindu ceremony and getting it registered under the SMA is legal? Who or what could support that?
Hmm, the marriage certificate? Actually that's all that's needed. It is in acordance with Indian law.

Quote:
The problem is that Germany insists that a Christian cannot legally get married under a Hindu ceremony. And I think the only way out of this mess (besides getting divorced and remarry) is to insist that it is the SMA that they registered under.
Now that would be quite silly, divorcing and remarrying. Besides, India is not Mexico - try giving an Indian judge this as a reason for wanting divorce and what are the chances of it being granted? Close to zero.

Right you are - SMA is LEGAL AND BINDING under Indian law.

Quote:
I think they need a highly official paper, official rules and regulations about the SMA. But is there anything like that? Are there Indian lawyers who could help? (I know they need one of the really good ones.)
Btw, is this about you (nothing wrong with saying so if it is) ?

Talk to the German embassy or the consulate in Chennai and see if they can help.
The marriage certificate is a highly official paper (doesn't get better than that actually). A copy of the SMA can be bought from any bookshop that deals in legal publications. In line with what Nick says, don't mention the Samaj ceremony unless asked.
It'll bear repeating - the marriage is valid as per Indian law, plain and simple.

A lawyer will simply charge you a lot of money for doing what you can yourself, at least for now. Nick will testify to that (ref trying to get an X visa).
#7 Apr 17th, 2016, 17:07
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#7
I think the ambiguity is from the use of SMA here.
SMA can be used for-
1. Getting married irrelevant to the religion of the parties
2. Registering a previously executed marriage which was performed under a relihious marriage act.

I think in this case it ha been case 2.
If the german authorities are questioning the validity of the original marriage then just the registration via SMA is not going to satisfy them.
Also, I guess the SMA registration was done wrt a valid arya samaj wedding. Which means the bride has converted to hinduism.

Can she not inform that to the german authorities? Or will that create difficulties for her?
#8 Apr 17th, 2016, 17:16
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#8
Quote:
Btw, is this about you (nothing wrong with saying so if it is) ?
I'm sure she would say if it was. I think she has had her legal status sorted out in any country in which it matters to her for some time now.

Quote:
In line with what Nick says, don't mention the Samaj ceremony unless asked.
People do all kinds of stuff. And they are free to do it too: whatever makes them feel good and feel married. If they had made their vows in a moonlit forest glade, witnessed by the woodland fairies, I don't think they would be rushing to tell the German authorities about that, would they? The fact that it would be more important to them personally than something repeated three times in front of a registrar and rubber-stamped is not what is relevant here.

How, though, can they now unsay what has been said. Somehow, they must convince the authorities that anything else, apart from the SMA marriage, was a personal celebration, and nothing to do with the law.

<crossposted>

Quote:
Originally Posted by nayan View Post I think the ambiguity is from the use of SMA here.
SMA can be used for-
1. Getting married irrelevant to the religion of the parties
2. Registering a previously executed marriage which was performed under a relihious marriage act.
Ahh... I confess that I didn't even know about Option 2 until recently.

What does the certificate say?

Hmmm.... I don't know why I didn't realise that: I read the damn thing often enough ten years ago. Anyway, there is a fourth and fifth schedule. The fifth schedule is the form of certificate of registration of marriages performed in other ceremonies. Is that what they have?

One has to read the act carefully and fully. If I'm right, it does say that any marriage registered under the act is a marriage under the act. Whatever.

After confirmation by a full reading, that should probably be waved under the nose of the German officials.
#9 Apr 17th, 2016, 17:37
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by nayan View Post I think the ambiguity is from the use of SMA here.
SMA can be used for-
1. Getting married irrelevant to the religion of the parties
2. Registering a previously executed marriage which was performed under a relihious marriage act.

I think in this case it ha been case 2.
What does that mean - "a previously executed marriage which was performed under a religious marriage act"? Since when do any religious ceremonies refer to the relevant act?

Two people of different religions (or of no religion, one or both) can get married under the SMA. They can also have held a religious ceremony alongside. It doesn't matter - I know of cases where two religious ceremonies took place, of each of the persons involved.
Q: What law applies there?
A: The SMA registration and certificate is what counts.

Quote:
Can she not inform that to the german authorities? Or will that create difficulties for her?
Seems it already has!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post If they had made their vows in a moonlit forest glade, witnessed by the woodland fairies, I don't think they would be rushing to tell the German authorities about that, would they?
They well might. Point is, that doesn't (or shouldn't) matter. What matters is the marriage registration and certificate - which was issued as per Indian law. If the Indian state holds the marriage to be valid (under the SMA), I don't see on what basis the German authorities are questioning it.

Quote:
How, though, can they now unsay what has been said. Somehow, they must convince the authorities that anything else, apart from the SMA marriage, was a personal celebration, and nothing to do with the law.
Right, what I said, in different words.

EDIT: If the couple are not in India, I can only suggest to try and get help from the Indian mission closest to where they live. If in India, the German mission.
#10 Apr 17th, 2016, 17:46
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#10
Nick, I see you were editing while I was editing.
#11 Apr 17th, 2016, 17:46
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#11
DW, you are much more alert than I. My amateur lawyer eyes have clouded over.

Quote:
a previously executed marriage which was performed under a religious marriage act
This is what the acts says
Quote:
Registration of Marriage Celebrated in other forms
15. Registration of marriages celebrated in other forms.-
Any marriage celebrated, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, other than a
marriage solemnized under the Special Marriage Act, 1872 or under this Act, may be registered
under this Chapter by a Marriage Officer in the territories to which this Act extends if the
following conditions are fulfilled, namely:
It says celebrated, but only marriages under the SMA itself are excluded.

I think that my common sense, and yours, is telling us that one can't have two marriages that are registered under two acts. But it seems that the SMA doesn't actually say that. This may have been a drafting oversite, and the courts might follow what we think is the common-sense view.

But, in this thread, it is only an academic point
#12 Apr 17th, 2016, 17:55
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#12
Legalese. Time to get in the lawyers.

It makes the exclusion because marriages solemnised under SMA are already registered ..... under SMA . Like I said, legalese.
(It will bear pointing out that one can't have an SMA marriage without an SMA registration. Therefore legalese. In any case, the text is referring to a chapter. SMA marriage would simply be under a different chapter).

Do you have the link for that? I'd like to see the rest of the clause/s.


P. S. Right, one cannot get registered under two different marriage acts.
#13 Apr 17th, 2016, 18:33
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#13
I just google when I want it. There are several sites that carry the text, but here's a PDF with the schedules and certificate wordings
#14 Apr 17th, 2016, 18:35
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#14
Dear All,

interesting thread!

It is not about me. I was smart enough to figure out before my Indian wedding how to have it acknowledged in Germany as well. And I married in a temple under the Hindu Marriage Act. But I am a Hindu. And we even got all documents checked and have our Indian marriage registered in Germany so we can get a German marriage certificate about our Indian wedding. But that only as a side note.

I am trying to help a couple that is asking for help in a German forum and the people there cannot help as they do not know about the Indian part of the law but very much about the tricky German part.

This situation of being married in India but the marriage not being acknowledged in Germany is the worst that can happen for indogerman couples. I have read about 3 couples that were in similar situations and it took years to get out of it. One couple had a divorce.

This couple has handed in all the papers for a family reunion. He is in India, she is already in Germany. The German embassy is saying that the marriage is not valid with the argument that the actual marriage was an Arya Samaj wedding but she is a Christian. They told them to annul their wedding ...

By the way, you can only get married once. In this case it was the Arya Samaj wedding and the SMA was only the registration (unfortunately!). If they had done it the other way round, there would have been no harm at all, because the temple/church/gurudwara/etc. would just be regarded as a ceremony but not the legal wedding, which would have been signing papers for the SMA.

As far as I unterstand your ideas there are two options:

1) Trying to prove that the SMA says "registering a previously executed marriage which was performed under a religious marriage act"

2) Proof that she is a Hindu because she had to convert for the Arya Samaj wedding.

On the Arya Samaj homepage it sound like they do not have to be Hindus. "The Arya Samaj wedding is an option for people of all religions - any one can have an Arya Samaj wedding." http://www.aryasamajthane.com/marriage.html but it also says "Shuddhi is an exceptional ritual, wherein the couple if hailing from a non-Hindu background, has to get converted into Hindus. Shuddhi means purification. This is mandatory as the founder of the religion, Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati believed only in Hinduism as the original authentic religion."
So, does one have to convert before the Arya Samaj wedding??

Thanks
Anjali
#15 Apr 17th, 2016, 18:43
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#15
Quote:
Trying to prove that the SMA says "registering a previously executed marriage which was performed under a religious marriage act"
Print it out and wave it around?

Do German officials accept such things in English Language?

Quote:
Subject to the provisions contained in sub-section (2) of Sec.24 where a certificate of marriage
has been finally entered in the Marriage Certificate Book under this Chapter, the marriage
shall, as from the date of such entry, be deemed to be a marriage solemnized under this Act,
but

Quote:
Provided that in case of a marriage celebrated before the commencement of this Act, this
condition shall be subject to any law, custom or usage having the force of law governing each of
them which permits of a marriage between the two;
might get used as a sticking point.
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