Inter-Caste And Inter-Religion Marriages See A 300% Rise, Shows How Marriages Are Unifying India






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In a thumbs-up for breaking barriers and building secular bonds, there’s a massive spurt in marriages registered under the Special Marriages Act, 1954, in Bengaluru in the past couple of years. With inter-caste and inter-religion marriages on the rise, the Act provides for secular marriages, unlike the laws dictated by religion.

Data obtained from the department of stamps and registrations shows 2,624 marriages were registered in 2013-14 under the Act; the number jumped to 10,655 in the subsequent year. In 2015-16, up to January, the number had touched 8,391 — a 306% increase from 2013-14 to 2014-15. “Nowadays, many marriages are inter-religious and inter-caste, and mostly beyond the purview of religion-based marriage laws.

The Special Marriages Act provides an opportunity to marry as per the Constitution. There are an increasing number of people belonging to different religions marrying under the Special Marriages Act,” explained a department official.

Understanding The Special Marriages Act

The Act stipulates that the two individuals consent to the marriage. All people of India and all Indian nationals in foreign countries, irrespective of religion or faith followed by either party, can marry under this Act. The woman should have attained 18 years of age, and the man 21.

The couple needs to give a 30-day notice to the marriage registrar of the district, declaring their intent to marry. In the absence of any objections, their marriage is solemnized at the end of the period.



But all marriages registered under the Special Marriages Act are not necessarily inter-caste and inter-religious. Rohan Menezes and his wife Tania, both Christians by birth, opted to register their marriage under the Special Marriages Act.


“I am an atheist and when we were engaged, one of the first things I told her was the marriage should be a registered one,” said Rohan, who works as an executive at a digital marketing firm.”When I researched the marriage laws, I came across Special Marriages Act and found the process was not complicated. So we went ahead,” Rohan added.

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There have been instances of adults belonging to two different religions marrying with the consent of their families, as per the rituals of either one religion or both. But if they want to register their marriage, it can be only under the Special Marriages Act. “We had a church wedding and another as per Hindu rituals. We were not happy with either of us change our religion. We got our marriage registered under the special marriage law,” said Lawrence, who recently married his girlfriend Trisha (both names changed).



While special marriages are gaining traction, there are those who prefer to stick to a particular religious marriage law, notwithstanding differences like region or caste. Amartya Pal, a Bengali Hindu who wanted to marry Mona Sarode from Pune, opted for a simple registered marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, instead of worrying about the different rituals of their home states and other complications. 
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