Any two persons, where one or both participants are Christians, can get married under Christian law.1
In the eyes of law, any person who truly believes in the Christian faith will be a Christian.2
Whether or not they have been baptised into the faith need not determine their status as a Christian. Rather, the law looks at the genuineness of the person’s faith in the religion, to determine whether they are a Christian or not.3
Minimum Age for Marriage
While the law does not prescribe a minimum age for getting married, the law provides for a special procedure for the marriage of minors. For the purposes of Christian Marriage, a minor is anyone below the age of 21, and someone who is not a widow/widower.4
However, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act makes every marriage involving a child (below 18 years), illegal but voidable at the option of the child.5
In situations where the minor is between 18 to 21 years old, they would require the consent of either their father, guardian, or mother to get married under the law. 6 To know more about the special procedures of marriage of a minor, read our explainer on Marriages of Minors under Christian Law.
Prohibited Marriages under Christian Law
Certain personal laws may absolutely prohibit a person from marrying a certain person, such as marriage between siblings.7 The Christian Marriage law does not allow for such prohibited marriages and such marriages are considered to be invalid under this law.8 However, a person still has the option to marry under the Special Marriage Act, and the impediment of personal laws won’t be applicable for such a marriage. To learn more on special or inter-religious marriages, read our explainer on Inter-Religious Marriage.
- Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872, Section 4.
- Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872, Section 3.
- Maha Ram v. Emperor AIR 1918 All 168, K.J.B. David v. Nilamoin Devi, AIR 1953 Ori 10.
- Section 3, Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872.
- Section 3(1), Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
- Sections 19 & 44, Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872.
- Canon 1092, Code of Canon Law.
- Section 88, Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872.