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Can Website Of Marriage Registrar Indefinitely Display Application For Registration Of Marriage Even After Its Dissolution?: Delhi HC To Consider

Aaratrika Bhaumik
19 July 2021 4:26 AM GMT
Can Website Of Marriage Registrar Indefinitely Display Application For Registration Of Marriage Even After Its Dissolution?: Delhi HC To Consider
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The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice on a plea seeking removal of an application made by the Petitioner for registration of her marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 from the website of the office of the Registrar of Marriage. The question raised before Justice Rekha Palli is whether the Marriage Registrar is entitled to indefinitely retain on its website such an...

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The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice on a plea seeking removal of an application made by the Petitioner for registration of her marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 from the website of the office of the Registrar of Marriage.

The question raised before Justice Rekha Palli is whether the Marriage Registrar is entitled to indefinitely retain on its website such an application even after dissolution of the concerned marriage.

The Special Marriage Act allows people of different faiths to enter into wedlock without converting to another faith, something that personal law necessitates. Under Section 6 of the Act, the concerned marriage officer is under an obligation to issue a public notice for 30 days regarding the intended marriage in order to invite potential objections to such a marriage. 

In a significant development, Justice Vivek Chaudhary of the Allahabad High Court vide order dated January 12, 2021 had held that such mandatory publication of notice of intended marriage violates the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy including the freedom to choose for marriage without interference from state and non-state actors.

In the instant case, the petitioner had submitted an application for registration of marriage to the office of the Registrar back in 2018. Subsequently on September 7, 2020 the marriage got dissolved. However, despite such dissolution of marriage the concerned application continues to be displayed on the Registrar's website.

As a result, the concerned application for registration can also be found via different search engines causing grave embarrassment and prejudice to the petitioner as she is compelled to answer several uncomfortable questions regarding the past occurrences of her life, the Petitioner claimed.

The counsel for the petitioner also contended that the application exposes personal data of the petitioner to the public at large including her address, date of birth, father's name and other vital information. This constitutes an invasion of the petitioner's fundamental right to privacy. Accordingly, the petitioner prayed before the Court to issue directions for the removal of such registration applications from the Registrar's website as and when the purpose for which the applications are moved stands fulfilled.

Accordingly, notice has been issued to the respondents, returnable on October 18. The Court has also directed that a counter affidavit must be filed within 4 weeks. Rejoinder, if any, may be filed within 3 weeks thereafter.

Case Title: X v. District Magistrate Revenue Department and Ors. 


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