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Parsi Marriage Act

Parsi Marriage Act

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The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936 is an Act of the Indian Parliament that regulates laws relating to marriage and divorce regarding Parsis and Zoroastrians. The Act became operational on 23rd April 1936. This Parsi Marriage Act 1936 was framed keeping in mind the Parsi law and is an amalgamation of various legislations and the Law’s own amendments. 

Parsi Marriage Act

A Parsi, whether a man or a woman, is bound by the provisions of this Act even if he changes his faith or domicile when:

  • He/she marries under this Act
  • The spouse of the man/woman is alive or they have not been divorced 
  • The marriage has not been declared null and void by the Court. 

The Act is all about laws relating to names and definitions of marriage in Parsi law, marriage registration, divorce, conjugal rights, judicial separation, marriage separation, adoption and rights of children, and grounds to file for matrimonial suits for Parsis and Zoroastrians. It also states about the Parsi Matrimonial Courts and the punishments offered by the Court for offences committed by the Priest when a couple is married under this law.

Eligibility criterion to marry under the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936

A marriage can be solemnized under the Parsi Marriage Act if: –

  1. The parties to the marriages are not related to each other by any degree of consanguinity or come from the same ancestral lineage.
  2. The husband is 21 years old and the wife is 18 years old. If this rule has not been adhered to, the children born out of such wedlock will be considered illegitimate.
  3. The bride and the groom do not have another living spouse when they are getting married. The Act prohibits bigamy. 

A marriage between two Parsis is not valid also if: –

  1. The couple solemnizes their marriage by following the Parsi ceremony of “Ashirvad” either by a Parsi Priest or any other Parsi.
  2. Marriages are not solemnized by the priest with two Parsi witnesses in attendance.
  3. The parties to the marriage have not been lawfully divorced from their previous partner or their previous marriage is not declared null and void.  The Act prohibits remarriage unless a divorce decree (if any) is not finalized from the previous marriage.

Marriage Registration under the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936

The Marriage registration between the parties to the marriage after solemnization is certified by an officiating priest. The marriage certificate has to be signed by the said priest, the couple and two other witnesses present at the couple’s marriage. Thereafter, the said priest shall send such a certificate together with a fee of Rs. 2 rupees, to be paid by the husband, to the Registrar of the place at which the marriage was solemnised. The Registrar after receiving the receipt of the certificate and fee shall enter the certificate in a Marriage register to be kept by and will be entitled to retain the fee.

A registrar will be appointed for marrying couples under this Act and such registrars will be appointed by the Chief Justice of the Courts within the local limits of the local jurisdiction. In most cases, the judges of the High Court or the State Government appoint such Registrars. Both authorities have the power to remove the Registrars as well. 

Divorce under the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936

The parties to the marriage can file for divorce or nullification or judicial separation or dissolution before a Court of law on the grounds mentioned in ‘Matrimonial Suits’. When the Court passes the order for divorce or nullification, a copy of such a decree is sent to the Registrar of the place where the couple’s marriage is registered. The Registrar shall enter the details of the decree in the register for divorce, nullification and dissolution and the couple henceforth do not have to live together and can remarry. 

Divorce by mutual consent

A divorce petition may be presented to the District Court by the bride and the groom, on the ground that they have been living separately for one year. The couple has also not been able to live together and they have mutually agreed upon the dissolution of their marriage. The Court will hear the pleas of both parties and make such inquiries that the said couple’s marriage has been solemnized under this Act, the written pleas are true and that the consent of either party to the suit was not obtained by force or fraud. If the Court is satisfied with the pleas and the truth of the inquiries, it will pass a decree declaring the marriage to be dissolved with effect from the date of the decree.

Grounds for Matrimonial Suits under the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936

In Parsi Law Divorce Act, any of the spouses can file for dissolution of the marriage by the following three modes: –

  1. Suits for nullity: 

A suit to declare the marriage null or void by either party can be filed if the consummation of the marriage is impossible because of natural causes.

             2.Grounds of divorce: 

Under the Parsi Law Divorce act, either party to the marriage may sue for divorce on any one or more of the following grounds, namely: –

    1. The marriage has not been consummated within 1 year after its solemnization since the defendant wilfully refused to do it.
    2. The defendant at the time of the marriage suffering from a mental illness or was of an unsound mind and has been suffering from the condition till the date of the divorce suit.
    3. The parties to the marriage did not live together even after the Court passed a decree of restitution of conjugal rights for one year or more since the date of the marriage. 
    4.  The parties to the marriage did not live together for one year or more since the date of the marriage.
    5. The defendant or wife was at the time of the marriage pregnant by some person other than her spouse:
      The divorce on this clause will not be granted if:  –

      • the husband was, at the time of the marriage unaware of the alleged facts of pregnancy,
      • The divorce has been filed within 2 years of the marriage, and marital intercourse did not take place after the husband came to know of the fact.
    6. Suits for the dissolution of a marriage: — The marriage may be dissolved by either party if: –
  • The husband or the wife has been absent from the other’s life for 7 years.
  • The husband or the wife has not heard of his/her spouse from those who may know about his/her spouse in 7 years even if they were alive.
            3.Petition for judicial separation: 

Either party to the marriage may sue for judicial separation on any of the grounds for which such a person could have filed a divorce. 

Parsi Matrimonial Courts

All matrimonial suits and petitions under this Act will be heard by special courts called the ‘Parsi Chief Matrimonial Courts’ and ‘Parsi District Matrimonial Courts’. The Courts shall be set up in the Presidency towns of Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai and other states as well as the Central Government will deem fit. Courts set up in places other than Presidency towns are called ‘Parsi District Matrimonial Courts’. 




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