The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 governs the matrimonial relations of Parsis in India. The Act defines the word 'Parsi' as a Parsi Zoroastrian. A Zoroastrian is a person who professes the Zoroastrian religion. It has a racial significance. Every marriage as well as divorce under this Act is required to be registered in accordance with the procedure prescribed in the Act.
Requisites to Validity of Parsi Marriages
No Parsi marriage shall be valid if :
- The contracting parties are related to each other in any of the degrees of consanguinity or affinity set forth in Schedule I; or
- Such marriage is not solemnized according to the Parsi form of ceremony called "Ashirvad" by a priest in the presence of two Parsi witnesses other than such priest; or
- In the case of any Parsi (whether such Parsi has changed his or her religion or domicile or not) who, if a male, has not completed 21 years of age, and if a female, has not completed 18 years of age. If a party to the marriage is under that age, the consent of the guardian should be obtained.
Notwithstanding that a marriage is invalid under any of the provisions of sub-section (1), any child of such marriage who would have been legitimate if the marriage had been valid, shall be legitimate.
Certificate and Registry of Marriage
Every marriage contracted under this Act shall, immediately on the solemnization thereof, be certified by the officiating priest in the form contained in Schedule II. The certificate shall be signed by the said priest, the contracting parties and two witnesses present at the marriage; and the said priest shall thereupon send such certificate together with a fee of Rs 2/- paid by the husband, to the Registrar of the place at which such marriage is solemnized. The Registrar enters the certificate in a register kept for the purpose and the register is accepted as proof of the statements made therein.
Punishment of Bigamy
A Parsi marriage is monogamous. Every Parsi who during the lifetime of his or her wife or husband, whether a Parsi or not, contracts a marriage without having been lawfully divorced from such wife or husband, or without his or her marriage with such wife or husband having legally been declared null and void or dissolved, shall be subject to the penalties provided in sections 494 and 495 of the Indian Penal Code for the offense of marrying again during the lifetime of a husband or wife.
Parsi Marriage and Divorce (Amendment) Act, 1988
By the Parsi Marriage and Divorce (Amendment) Act, 1988 (5 of 1988), scope of certain provisions of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 have been enlarged so as to bring them in line with the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.