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This article is written by Anjali Dhingra, IInd year student, B.B.A. LL.B, Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA. In this article, the author discusses the laws which regulate the foreign marriages and where Indians marries foreigners or get married abroad. The article also mentions the essential requirements for such marriages, the loopholes in the act, problems faced in such marriages and the solutions to it. 


Marriage is considered as one of the most important milestones in an individual’s life. A marriage between the two parties is usually solemnized in the presence of the parties’ near and dear ones, according to the rules and regulations of the religion which is followed by the parties. In other words, marriage is usually a personal affair, which is celebrated amongst friends and family.

This act of marriage was initially solemnized to mainly fulfil two duties, one to perform religious duties and second, for procreation. Since marriage is considered as a holy and a personal affair, legal implications of marriage were never given importance. Looking into the increasing trend of people getting married abroad or marrying with NRI or foreigner; Foreign Marriage Act was passed in the year 1969 to provide provisions for marriages of Indian citizens who are outside the territories of India.

The Bill has features of English and Australian legislation it is also modelled upon the Special Marriage Act (SMA) which was passed in 1954. One of the prerequisites to solemnize a marriage under this Act, one of the parties must be a citizen of India. In Foreign countries, the marriage must be solemnized under a Marriage Officer. [1]

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Key Words

  • The history of the act (jurisprudential aspect)
  • Solemnization of marriage under the Act
  • Foreign marriages and court’s view
  • Critical analysis of the act
  • Problems faced in getting married abroad
  • Proposed solutions

Literature Review:


I have read in a book by Kumud Desai regarding Indian Law on Marriage and Divorce which had a section for Foreign Marriage Act stating that these laws were earlier governed by private international Law which was vague, unsettled and uncertain thus this act was introduced as an addition to the existing laws which laid down certain rules in respect of capacity of the parties and conditions of validity of marriage. 

Section 18 of the act says that if any foreign marriage is not solemnized under this act then the parties cannot claim relief for the time being in force. It further states that when the parties marry in a foreign country than the relief can be claimed under this section. It supported it with the case Joyce Sumathi v. Robert Dickson Brodie[3] where the wife filed a petition for divorce u/s 27 of Special Marriage Act read with section 18(1) of this act. It was held that the petition was maintainable.

Among the provisions of the Act, section 18(3)(a)(ii) talks about a minimum of 3 years residence in immediately preceding the petition. It was clarified in the case of Maria Linda v. Ashley Joseph[4] that the court observed that the legislature had not added the words such as ‘continuous’ or ‘unbroken’ thus the trial court ‘should not have disqualified the petition on the ground of jurisdiction’.

The Foreign Marriage Act- A Critical Analysis  

There was an article published in the ‘Indian Folk’ where the author introduces the origin of the Foreign Marriage Act and refer it as a dependent piece of legislation which is in force in India. The main purpose of establishing this act was that in India, the people protected and governed by these laws can select a martial law based on their religion and community-specific marriage laws or can choose to follow the common laws of civil marriages in India which apply to the population in general.

Thus, the citizens have a choice between personal laws, i.e. the people of India belong to different religions and faiths and are thus governed by different sets of personal laws in respect of matters relating to family affairs like marriage, divorce, succession, etc.

Although the act has a wide scope and explanation, it does not specifically state any provision in case of divorce, nullity or any other matrimonial remedy or relief, in marriages solemnized under this act. However, this need has been fulfilled by adding certain provisions which follow the provisions of the Special Marriage Act. It fails to answer questions such as if a remedy is given based on the provisions of the Special Marriage Act, then would the rights be given to the husband or wife as per general matrimonial laws be enforceable in such marriages solemnized under the Foreign Marriage Act, outside India.

Similarly, the prescribed penalties apply only to the citizens of India and it does not specify any penalty if any wrong is done by a foreigner. However, the special marriage Act had catered to the growing needs to look into the matter and introduced an act for foreign marriages in India.

The history of Foreign Marriage laws in India

During the British period, Indians used to go abroad for higher education but mostly came back to settle in India. However, after independence, people started moving to abroad for personal or professional reasons and were influenced by different cultures. These migrants often married native spouses either because of romantic alliances with their colleagues or subordinates or to fulfil the requirements for Visa-regulations. After a time, these migrants started making communities and interpersonal contacts. With the passage of time, their financial conditions and standard of living improved. When they used to visit their ancestral homes, they started influencing the local society with their western lifestyle.[6]

This introduced the concept of NRI’s after independence. “In the past, Indians migrated to foreign lands for different reasons and acquired citizenship of the country of their domicile. These ‘Persons Of Indian Origin–PIOs’ are now called ‘Overseas Citizens Of India (OCI)’ as defined under Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005”.[7]

The emergence of the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969

After looking for the need of foreign marriage laws in India, the act which used to prevail in India was the foreign marriage act, 1903.[8] The Special Marriage Act, 1954 included some provisions relating to foreign marriages involving Indian citizens marrying abroad.[9]

There was a considerable amount of uncertainty as to the law relating to foreign marriages. The then existing legislation touched only the fringes of the subject and the matter was governed by principles of private international law which were vague and by no means well settled, and which could not be readily applied to different communities.

The special marriage act, 1954 was introduced to remove this uncertainty to some extent. In the course of the debates in relation to the Special Marriage Act in parliament, it was urged that there should be laws for marriages where one of the party is Indian Citizen and other may not be. In this context, an assurance was given that the government would consider the issue and will introduce comprehensive legislation on the subject of foreign marriages. As an outcome of that assurance, the foreign marriage bill was introduced in the parliament.[10]

Fifteen years later, recognising the need for a separate law for foreign marriages, the new Foreign marriage act, 1969 was introduced.[11]

Foundation of the Act[12]

The FOREIGN MARRIAGE ACT, 1969 emanated from a bill moved in parliament in 1963 with a view to implementing the 23rd report of law commission of India on the subject of foreign marriages.

Modelled on the pattern of SPECIAL MARRIAGE ACT, 1954 and borrowing provisions from the British and Australian legislation on foreign marriage, the 1963 bill finally became law on 31 August 1969.

Salient features of the 1963 Bill[13]

The Bill is modelled on the SMA 1954 is subjected to certain important modifications which are necessary considering the peculiar condition in our country. The following are the salient features of the Bill:

  1. It provides for an enabling form of marriage which are more or less laying down certain rules regarding the capacity of parties and conditions of validity of the marriage and also provides for registration of marriage similar to those in SMA, 1954.
  2. The only difference is that there rules are to availed for marriages outside India or where one of the parties to the marriage is an Indian citizen provided that this act is not in supersession of but is only an addition to or an alternative to any other form that might be permissible to the parties.
  1. It lays down certain rules regarding the capacity of parties and conditions of validity of marriage and also provides for registration of marriage similar to those in the SMA, 1954.
  2. The provisions of the SMA, 1954 in regard to matrimonial reliefs are applicable to these marriages with suitable modifications. This act not only applies 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

Scope of present law[14]

FOREIGN MARRIAGE ACT 1969 provides for:-

  1.     Conditions relating to solemnization of marriage,
  2.     Initial solemnization of new marriages,
  3.  Registration of marriages already solemnized under any other law in force in a foreign country.

Validity of Marriage[15]

A marriage under this act would be considered valid if it is solemnized:

  1.      In fulfilment of the conditions laid down by the enactment,
  2.      In accordance with the procedure prescribed by the enactment.

A foreign marriage solemnized in accordance with the said statutory procedure will be presumed lawful.


Conditions for Solemnization of Marriage

At least one party must be a citizen of India[16]

It is the foundation of the act of foreign marriage in India. The marriages solemnized under this act require that one party is Indian or other party is a foreigner. The parties can be both Indian but solemnizing their marriage outside India or one party can be a Non-Resident of India (NRI).

In this case, the marriage can be solemnized and registered in India or any other country from where the foreigner belongs or is a citizen of. The other case may be when both the parties are a citizen of India or are Non-residents of India and get their marriage solemnized under any foreign law.


A foreign marriage has to be necessarily monogamous. At the time of solemnization of marriage, neither of the party must be having a living spouse [17] A foreign marriage in contravention to this rule would be null and void[18] when read with s. 24(1)(i) of Special Marriage Act, 1954. A marriage being null and void means that it will not be a legal marriage in the eyes of law.

Neither party to a marriage, solemnized under this act, during the subsistence of that marriage, contract any other marriage in India under any law, and either of them doing so will be guilty of offence of bigamy under the IPC.[19]

Either party to a foreign marriage who is an Indian Citizen may not, during its subsistence, contract any other marriage under my law, even outside India, otherwise, the party will attract the anti-bigamy provisions of the Indian Penal Code.[20]

Mental Condition

At the time of solemnization of marriage, both the parties must be having a sound mind. Neither party may be an idiot or a lunatic. If the marriage is solemnized in contravention with this condition, it will be null and void.[21]

Age of parties

At the time of solemnization of marriage:

  1.      The bride must have completed 18 years of age
  2.      The groom must have completed 21 years of age[22]

A foreign marriage procured in violation to this would be termed as null and void.[23] If found guilty, one has to undergo 15 days of simple imprisonment or fine of Rs. 1000 or both.

Prohibited degrees of relationship

The marriage cannot be solemnized between two parties if they come under prohibited degrees of relationship as explained in special marriage act except where the custom governing at least one of them permit the marriage between them.[24]

The special Marriage act states the category of men and women who comes under the prohibited degrees of relationship in schedule 1 and Section 2(b).

Initial Solemnization of new marriages

Ø  Give written notice to marriage officer in the district where at least one of the parties have resided for more than 30 days. (S. 5)

Ø  After receiving the notice, the officer keeps it with records in his office. (S. 6)

Ø  Marriage can be solemnized by or in front of the marriage officer, at his official house with open doors within prescribed hours. (S. 13)

Ø  The marriage can be solemnized in any manner the parties choose to adopt. [S. 13(2)]

Ø  There must be an official declaration for the marriage in front of at least three witnesses. [S. 13(2)]

Ø  The declaration can be made in any language understood by the parties or in case any or both the parties are not able to understand the language, it will be further translated for the party in the language he/she is familiar with. [S. 13(2)]

Ø  Marriage will be complete and binding after such declarations. [S. 13(2)]

Ø  The whole process of marriage has to be completed within 6 months from the date the notice was served. (S. 16)

In the case of Minoti Anand v. Subhash Anand, the marriage between two Hindus was performed in Japan according to Japanese rites and customs and registered under the foreign marriage act. It was deemed to be a marriage solemnized under the Foreign Marriage Act, vide section 18 of the act. If in case a dispute arises, matrimonial reliefs would be available to the parties only under the provisions of Special Marriage Act and not under Hindu marriage act as the marriage was solemnized outside the territories of India.[25]

Registration of Marriage [26]

After the marriage is solemnized, parties can get themselves registered under the foreign marriage act, irrespective of the nationality of the other party. The pre-existing marriage must be registered under the act only when it satisfies all the conditions for a valid marriage given in section 4 of the act.

The Marriage Officer may refuse to register a marriage under this section on the ground that in his opinion the marriage is inconsistent with international law or the comity of nations. For this, he has to give the reason in writing. If in case the Marriage Officer refuses to register a marriage under this section the party who has applied for registration can appeal to the Central Government in the prescribed manner within a period of thirty days from the date of refusal by the marriage officer; and the Marriage Officer will be binding by the decision of the Central Government on such appeal.

Registration of a marriage under this section shall come into action when the Marriage Officer issues a certificate of the marriage in the prescribed form and in the prescribed manner and make an entry in the Marriage Certificate Book, and such certificate shall be signed by the parties to the marriage and by three witnesses. A marriage registered under this section is deemed to have been solemnized under this Act from the day such certificate is issued.

In the case of Joyce sumathi v. Robert Division Brodie, the appellant wife was a resident of India performing Christian faith and married at Baharain where the couple worked. The husband deserted the wife who later on filed for divorce under the act. Although the trial court dismissed the petition stating that the marriage was not registered under section 17 of the Foreign Marriage Act but on appeal, the court held that any marriage solemnized under section 18(1) of the act or in relation to any other marriage solemnized in foreign country where at least one of the party is an Indian will be governed by Foreign Marriage Act and the wife’s petition for divorce was held maintainable.[27]

Continuance of residence- Issue Solved

Earlier, for getting solemnized under the Foreign Marriage Act, the place in whose jurisdiction marriage used to be solemnized, the parties were required to reside in that very place for at least 3  years.

The Modi Government has acknowledged global realities and is trying to outreach to foreigners to relax these conditions. The Home Ministry took suggestions from the stakeholders before amending the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955. The proposal was of amending the law as per the needs of the foreigners. The target was to allow breaks for a total period not exceeding 30 days during the prescribed period of one year stay in India before he or she can make an application for Indian citizenship. Indians previously could not leave India even for a single day in the one-year prescribed period before applying for Indian Citizenship.[28]

In the case of Maria Linda Rodrigues v. Ashley Joseph Rodrigues, the court said that Continuous residence for three years immediately preceding presentation of the petition is not necessary. It is enough that petitioner wife was resident of India and had resided in India for three years prior to the presentation of the petition.[29]

The act does not affect the validity of marriage outside its ambit

In the case of Smt. Joyce Sumathi v. Robert Dickson Brodie, where the marriage of a lady who was a citizen of India with a man who was a citizen of England was solemnized in the British political Agency, the marriage between the parties was considered to be a valid marriage.[30]

Critical Analysis of the Act

Not an alternative but an additional provision

The provisions provided in this act do not supersede any alternative provision but simply acts as an additional provision.[31] This means that when a person is marrying a foreigner or is marrying in a foreign country, this act is available to them as an option to get their marriage solemnized under the same. This somewhere degrades the importance of this act which is formulated considering certain concerns in mind. It can be presumed that the statutes in India can work in the absence of such act as well.

Not a complete act

The Foreign Marriage Act, 1969 only deals with three factors relating to foreign marriages. The first is the conditions for solemnization of marriage i.e. monogamy, age, soundness of mind and prohibited degrees of relationship. Second, includes the process of solemnization of marriage mentioned above and the third factor relates to the registration of marriage.

There are various other factors which are not dealt with in this act. These factors are mentioned below:

Firstly, the laws dealing with divorce. In the case of divorce between the parties whose marriage is solemnized under this act, no law pertaining to this situation is mentioned in the act.

Secondly, the laws relating to maintenance is also not dealt which can be aroused in at the time of divorce of parties that one of the parties needs to be maintained after the legal separation of the adults.

Thirdly, laws dealing with the citizenship status of the parties solemnizing under the act are not mentioned.

Fourthly, the issues related to legitimacy and citizenship of the child born out of such marriage are nowhere dealt with. The act nowhere explains the different conditions which can arise when a child is born through procreation or adoption or any other way under this act.

The Courts failed to address another issue that while Section 18 provides for matrimonial relief, for succession under Foreign Marriage Act, the parties seeking remedy cannot use any provisions of joint family status, inheritance rights of parties to a civil marriage and the succession law applicable to the parties and their minor children and their future descendants found in the Special Marriage Act, as the Foreign Marriage Act has not specified any provisions for this issue, which is silent on these matters.

So, even if the marriage was solemnized and registered under the Foreign Marriage Act, the parties, and future descendants will have to approach the Court under the laws of succession applicable in general cases.

Fifthly, the cases of nullity of marriage are not dealt with. The act although mentions the cases in which the marriage will be termed as null and void, the act fails to address the issue in detail or separately say what can be the probable consequences of entering into a marriage which is null and void.

Sixthly, the act does not provide with any provisions for matrimonial remedies. Since the grounds for relief in such cases are similar to those as covered in the Special Marriage Act, the Foreign Marriage Act has provided that, after making necessary alterations to the provisions of the Special Marriage Act, while not affecting the main point at issue, the parties will have matrimonial relief.

For all these factors relating to these kinds of marriages, the act relies upon The Special Marriage Act. This implies that this act cannot be read in isolation but will always need to be read with the Special Marriage Act.

Prescribing Penalties: Not applicable to foreign citizens

When prescribing penalties, the punishments clearly apply only to Indian citizens and cannot come into action if the foreign party to the marriage is guilty of such crimes. This limits the scope of the Act as when in the case of desertion by one of the parties, if a petition is filed by the other, challenging the said matrimonial proceedings on the grounds that the marriage cannot be subjected to Indian laws.

So, if the issue raised questions whether the Hindu Marriage Act would apply when the marriage is performed abroad and registered by the Marriage Officer of the country, as per Hindu customs, the provisions of law will answer by stating that the Hindu Marriage Act applies only when both parties are domicile of India, if the respondent is not an Indian citizen but belongs to the other country, he will not be subjected to Indian jurisdiction and will thus not face any matrimonial proceedings against him. So, in such cases, the Foreign Marriage Act failed to identify the possibility of such cases due to which a wrongdoer under this Act will be able to escape untouched by the law.[32]

“May” in section 4 and 17 of the act

The act is just an enabling law and does not make it compulsory for the parties to initially solemnize or register the marriage since the provisions dealing with them include ‘may’ and not ‘shall’ or ‘must’. If the foreign marriage is solemnized otherwise than under this act and never registered under the foreign marriage act may be perfectly valid.[33]

Solemnizing marriage by the embassy

Under this act, the embassy is authorised to solemnize the marriage when at least one party is Indian and the parties are living in abroad. In such a case, irrespective of the fact that one or both the partners are Indians; the party needs to submit an affidavit by the court of India on a stamp paper signed by a notary and advocate including stating that the parents in India consented and do not have any objection with the marriage. This affidavit is to be produced by the Indian partner only.[34]

The law asks only the Indian Party to get this affidavit. Moreover, for the solemnization of marriage, the Indian party needs consent of parents in writing. Although being sane and adult,  the consent of parents is required which considerably restricts their freedom to marry and choose a partner because in case the parents don’t consent for the marriage, their fundamental right to choose a partner is infringed as per the Indian Constitution. If the parties are adult and of marriageable age i.e. 18 for girls and 21 for boys, sane and are not in prohibited degrees of relationship should be free to marry without anyone’s consent except the other party and the law.

Problems faced when Indians marry abroad

In the last two decades, the trend of overseas marriages has been increasing at a high rate. Along with this, the brides of overseas marriages have faced a lot of problems which ultimately led to the abandonment by the husbands. The bride may be a victim of cruelty or there can be a dowry demand.Following are the problems which are mostly faced by the spouse in a marriage abroad:

  • The girl is abandoned by her in-laws or her husband. She is either sent back to her home country or the husband leaves her in India saying that he will be sending passport and visa but never called again. There have been cases where the girl reaches to the airport and the husband never comes to pick her up and she is forced to live in an unknown country without any resources.
  • She is physically and mentally harassed by her husband and in-laws. The girl is tortured and ill-treated to an extent that she either go back to her home or she is forced to go back.
  • It is discovered that the man had entered into bigamy or is having an extra-marital affair. There have been cases where the bride founds that the man is already married and is living with his first wife. He had entered into marriage because of family pressure.
  • There is a continuous demand for dowry before or after the marriage. The parents of the girl are held to ransom to pay a huge amount of cash and kind for the well being of their daughter. The parents are forced to pay such amount because the in-laws could make the life of their daughter miserable and she stays on a high risk at her husband’s house in an unknown country.
  • There are instances where the man and his family have lied about or concealed certain material facts about their background, marital status or financial standing. They could have lied about the property they hold or the occupation and earning of the husband or his marital status. Not every NRI is clean. There are people who escape to other nations after committing frauds in India.
  • The girl is taken to abroad and treated as house labour. The girl is taken abroad and is treated as a maid who is supposed to work from morning to night.
  • The girl is asked to pay for expenses for travelling and living in abroad.
  • There are cases where the boy marries the foreign girl in order to become a permanent resident of the country.
  • There are lenient laws in that foreign country on grounds for divorce. There are certain repercussions, some of them are discussed below: [37]
    • The husband takes advantage of such laws and gets an ex-parte decree of divorce which means that the court gave a decree of divorce without the presence of another party.  
    • The Indian courts deny giving maintenance to the wife because the case is dismissed in the other country.
    • If any criminal case is filed in India against the husband but the husband never comes to India to appear in the trial
  • There are issues related to custody of the child at the time of divorce and the husband is reluctant to surrender the custody of the child.

The court’s perspective

In the case of Neeraja Sharaph vs. Jayant V. Saraph [38],  the court has emphasised on the need to consider legislative safeguarding of the interests of women and also suggested the following specific provisions:

  1. If Marriage between an NRI and an Indian woman has solemnized in India than it may not be annulled by any foreign court.
  2. Adequate alimony should be paid to the wife by the husband, in the case of divorce.
  3. The decree of Indian court should be made executable in foreign courts both on the principle of comity by entering into reciprocal agreements and notify them under section 44A of the Civil Procedure Code which talks about binding nature of foreign decree i.e.; it is executable as it would have been a decree passed by that court.

Actions taken by the Government of India [39]

The National Commission for Women was appointed as a coordinating agency at the national level for dealing with issues pertaining to NRI marriages by Government of India vide Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs order dated 28th April 2009.

In furtherance of this, the NRI Cell was formally inaugurated on the 24th of September, 2009, to deal with the complaints received from within the country and abroad resulting from cross country marriages wherein there is any deprivation of woman rights or any issue involving injustice to women.

In a report of 2011-12, the total number of cases registered by the NRI cell was 480. Out of all the states and Union territories, maximum cases were reported by residents of Delhi followed by Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. The maximum number of complaints were reported to India i.e. 180 followed by the U.S. with 19 complaints.

Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) launched a scheme in February 2007 to provide financial assistance for obtaining legal aid/counselling through Indian Missions abroad. The scheme has been launched in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and Gulf countries.

A National Consultation on “Marriages to Overseas Indians” was organized by the Ministry in February, 2006 following which the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs jointly with the National Commission for Women (NCW), organized two regional workshops in Chandigarh and Thiruvananthapuram in 2006 with the objective of involving the State Commissions for women as well as the women organizations of the States concerned to spread awareness.

The Bill has been introduced in the parliament which is an outcome of a joint initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Law and Justice.

The objective of the Bill is to create more accountability and offer more protection against the exploitation of Indian women by their NRI spouses. It envisages

(i) Registration of Marriages by Non-Resident Indians;

(ii) Amendment of the Passports Act 1967 and

(iii) Amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure 19 [40]

What can we do to deal with this issue?

To some extent, the repercussions of these marriages can be minimised if the girl and her family keep themselves aware and attentive towards the circumstances. When the parents are handing over the greatest gems of their lives to someone, carelessness can make them pay a lot. Here are some of the suggestions which the family of the bride can adopt to save their child from misery:

  • All the facts related to the groom needs to be properly verified. All the related documents needed to be photocopied and kept with the bride and her parents. This reduces the chances of fraud. This includes: [41]
    • Visa, Passport
    • Voter, alien registration card
    • Social Security No.
    • Tax returns of last 3
    • Bank Account No., statements
    • License No.
    • Property Documents
    • Marital Status
    • Employment details (qualification, post, salary, address of the Office, employers and their credentials)
    • Immigration Status (the type of Visa, eligibility to take the spouse to the other country)
    • Criminal antecedents
    • Family background
  • Always try to get the marriage registered. If the groom seems to be in a hurry, try to convince him that it is just a matter of a few days. Keep the video recordings and photographs of the marriage ceremony as proof as in many cases, the solemnization of marriage is primarily questioned. For the same reason, do not keep the marriage a secret or do it in hostility. It is better to invite more and more people so they know about the marriage
  • Try to avoid having a marriage abroad since people are not so well versed about foreign laws. If you are more excited to enjoy this special occasion in a foreign country, you can have your pre and post marriage ceremonies there.
  • Be well versed with the marriage laws of the other country and the rights which one can enjoy in cases of divorce or domestic violence.
  • Open a bank account exclusively on the name of your daughter which she can use in a foreign country in case of emergency.
  • Keep the photocopy of the marriage certificate with you.
  • Keep in touch with relatives and friends abroad and ask your daughter to do the same.
  • Do not give your passport or visa to any unauthorized person


The Foreign Marriage Act covers within its ambit, a marriage between an Indian and a Foreign citizen or two Indian marrying abroad. Unlike the Hindu Marriage Act, The Foreign Marriage Act is not concerned about religion. It focuses on the legal aspects governing the institution of marriage. Its features are derived from, both, The Hindu Marriage Act and The Special Marriage Act.

A marriage, which is usually considered to be a family and a religious occasion, has its own legal impacts, which is not given much importance. The Foreign Marriage Act, however, highlights these legal implications of the institution of marriage.[35]

While the Courts need to address the flaws in this act, it must be appreciated as a protective law that wholly protects Indians outside of Indian Territory, as the law requires a wider scope and application to ensure that it effectively governs such special cases of marriages. While it was derived from the basis and provisions of the Special Marriage Act, it has successfully understood where the people need legal safeguarding in such marriages, and thus, despite a few legal fallacies, it is a piece of legislation appreciated for giving the people more rights and freedom.[36]


  1. Jyotsna Gynanashekar,” A Study Foreign Marriage Act, 1969”, Vol. 2, 1(2017)
  2. Prof. Kusum, Kumud Desai’s Indian Law of Marriage and Divorce 645-650 (LexisNexis, Gurgaon, tenth edn., 2017)
  3. Joyce Sumathi v. Robert Dickson Brodie, AIR 1982 AP 389
  4. Maria Linda v. Ashley Joseph, AIR 1993 Bom 110
  5. Dylan Sharma, “The Foreign Marriage Act- A Critical Analysis”, Indian Folk (2017)
  6. Graeme Kirk,“Happy Families-The immigration procedure for spouses and dependents is not always simple” The Economic Times, November 13, 2006 at 11.
  7. “Concept of Non-Resident Indian Marriages & Legal Issues – A Detailed Study”, Chapter 3(2006)
  8. The Foreign Marriage Act, 1903 Act 14 0f 1903
  9. Special Marriage act 1954, pre 1969 version , ss 1(2), 2(a), 3(2), 4(e), 10 and 52
  10. Bare Act, The Foreign Marriage Act, 1969, 1 (Universal Law Publishers, Delhi, 2018)
  11. Halsbury’s Law of India, “Family Law I” (64) (Lexis Nexis, second edition/2014)
  12. Foreign Marriage Act Bill, 1963
  13. Foreign Marriage Act Bill, 1963, Statement of objects and reasons
  14. Halsbury’s Law of India, “Family Law I” (64) (Lexis Nexis, second edition/2014)
  15. Section 15, Foreign Marriage Act, 19692
  16. Section 4, Foreign Marriage Act, 1969
  17. Section 4(a), Foreign Marriage Act, 1969
  18. Section 18(1), Foreign Marriage Act, 1969
  19. Section 19(1), Foreign Marriage Act, 1969, Section 494495 of IPC, 1860
  20. Section 19(2), Foreign Marriage Act, 1969, Section 494495 of IPC
  21. Section 4(b) of Foreign Marriage Act, 1969
  22. Section 4(c) of Foreign Marriage Act, 1969
  23. Section 18(1) of Foreign Marriage Act, 1969
  24. Section 4(d) of Foreign Marriage Act, 1969
  25. Minoti Anand v. Subhash Anand,  2016(1) ALL MR 408
  26. Section 17 of the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969
  27. Joyce sumathi v. Robert Division Brodie, Air 1982 AP 389
  28. Aman Sharma, “Modi’s outreach to foreigners: Marriage to Indian won’t mean staying in India before applying for citizenship”, The Economic Times, 30 october 2014
  29. Maria Linda Rodrigues v. Ashley Joseph Rodrigues, AIR 1993 Bom 110
  30. Smt. Joyce Sumathi v. Robert Dickson Brodie, AIR 1982 AP 389
  31. Dylan Sharma, “The Foreign Marriage Act- A Critical Analysis”, Indian Folk (2017)
  32. Dylan Sharma, “The Foreign Marriage Act- A Critical Analysis”, Indian Folk (2017)
  33. Halsbury’s Law of India, “Family Law I”, 65  (Lexis Nexis, second edition/2014)
  34. Rahul, “solemnizing marriage under Foreign Marriage Act” 1 (Lawyer’s club India, 2011)
  35. Jyotsna Gynanashekar,” A Study Foreign Marriage Act, 1969”, Vol. 2, 1(2017)
  36. Dylan Sharma, “The Foreign Marriage Act- A Critical Analysis”, Indian Folk (2017)
  37. Problems Relating to Overseas Indian Marriages. LOK SABHA SECRETARIAT
  38. Neerja Saraph vs Jayant V.Saraph, 1994 SCC (6) 461
  39. Problems Relating to Overseas Indian Marriages. LOK SABHA SECRETARIAT
  40. Bill INtroduced on NRI marriages in Parliament. Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury. (Feb 11, 2019)
  41. Frauds and Problems related to NRI Marriages and what to do. Shreya Shikha. (Jan 20,    2017)


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