Which Law applies for my marriage ?
Marriage, Divorce, Custody and Maintenance are largely governed by the religion practiced by the parties to the marriage. If both parties belong to the same religion, one of these acts would apply:
a. if you are Christians, The Indian Divorce Act, 1869 and the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872;
b. if you are Parsis, the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936;
c. if you are Hindus, the Hindu code comprising the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, the Hindu Minority and Guardianship act, 1956 and the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. The term ‘Hindu’ in these acts applies to Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains, or in other words, all those who are not Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew;
d. if you are Muslims, the Muslim Personal law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 and the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986.
Every act specifies the particular procedures to be fulfilled before the marriage can be considered solemnised, such as the saptapadi for the Hindus, or Ashirwad for Parsis.
If both of you do not follow the same religion, you would have two options:
1. One of you could convert to the religion of the other so that you could be married under the relevant law. To convert to Hinduism, you need to approach an Arya Samaj temple, which is authorised to convert persons to Hinduism, and also solemnise marriages. To convert to Islam, you need to approach a Madrassa of the specific sect to receive instruction. To convert to Christianity, you need to approach a church of the specific sect to receive instruction. Or
2. You could be married under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. This act is a secular act, and you can choose to be married under this act even if you can be validly married by any of the other acts. The Special Marriage Act requires the filing of a 30-day notice of intended marriage before the marriage officer.