By LE Desk

Chandigarh, March 20: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has allowed registration of marriage through video-conferencing as it set aside a decision of a single Bench.

The order was delivered on March 9 by a Bench of Justices Ritu Bahri and Archana Puri while hearing a leave patent appeal.

The petitioners — Ami Ranjan and his wife Misha Verma — approached the court, filing the appeal against the judgment of a single judge of the High Court, whereby a writ petition, filed by the petitioners seeking quashing of the order issued by the Deputy Collector-cum-Marriage Officer, Gurugram, was dismissed. It was held that there was no provision for registration of the marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 without the parties appearing in person before the marriage officer.

In the appeal it was submitted that the wife, a medical professional, was on COVID-19 emergency duty in the United States and that the husband wanted to go there to meet his wife, but for that he had to attach a marriage certificate along with an application for obtaining visa. In this backdrop, on account of lack of marriage certificate, the parties were facing unprecedented hardship.

The court, overruling the judgment of the single Bench that refused to permit registration of marriage through videoconferencing, observed the husband was not seeking complete exemption of appearance of his wife before the Registrar of Marriage. He was seeking that his wife be allowed to appear through videoconferencing, so that the marriage could be registered, it added, as reported by The Hindu.

“..In this case, presence of Misha Verma [wife] can be secured through video-conferencing and presence of husband Ami Ranjan and three witnesses can be marked by their appearance in the office of Registrar of Marriages. Then, the certificate of marriage can be issued on doing verification of facts as contemplated under Sections 15 and 16 of the Special Marriage Act. Once the marriage certificate is issued, it can be made part of the public record under Section 47 of the Act by entering it into the marriage certificate book. There shall be no violation of Section 47 of the Act,” said the court.

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