Why is it in the news?
- Recently, the Supreme Court held that ‘self-respect’ marriages or ‘suyamariyathai’ under Section 7(A) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, do not need public solemnisation or declarations, setting aside a May 2023 Madras High Court judgement.
- Supreme Court affirms the fundamental right to choose one’s life partner.
- Advocates are discouraged from solemnising ‘self-respect marriages’ professionally.
- Advocates can serve as witnesses for such marriages in their personal capacities as friends or relatives.
Background on ‘Self-Respect’ Marriages
- Originated as part of the self-respect movement in the 1920s led by Tamil social reformer Periyar.
- Aims to eliminate caste practices and promote inter-caste marriages based on respect and equality.
Overruling of Madras High Court’s 2024 Judgement:
- Supreme Court overturns the 2014 Madras High Court judgment that declared marriages performed by advocates as invalid.
- Cites the potential danger of public solemnisation due to societal pressures.
Special Marriage Act
- Another legislation permitting secular marriages.
- Applies to people of all faiths in India and allows inter-faith marriages.
- Criticized for its objection provision, which can be used to harass inter-religious couples.