The Special Marriage Act, 1954
Meaning and Scope
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is a law in India that provides for marriage between two individuals of any religion, caste or creed. The act is applicable to the whole of India, except for the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and allows for civil marriage without any religious rites or ceremonies. The act also provides for divorce and the maintenance of spouses and children. The act provides a legal framework for inter-caste, inter-faith, and inter-regional marriages. It is particularly useful for couples who want to marry without any religious affiliation or who belong to different religions or castes.
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 does not specifically address the issue of child custody. However, it does allow for either spouse to petition the court for maintenance and support of their children under Section 36 of the Act.
Difference from The Guardians and Wards Act, 1890
In contrast, the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 provides specific provisions for child custody. The Act enables a court to appoint a guardian for a minor child if the parents are unable to provide proper care or if there is a dispute over the custody of the child.
The main difference between the two Acts with respect to child custody is that the Special Marriage Act, 1954 does not provide for a specific legal process for determining custody in case of separation or divorce, while the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 provides a specific legal framework for the appointment of guardians and determination of custody.