This week Your Advocate is Barrister Omar Khan Joy, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is the head of the chambers of a renowned law firm, namely, 'Legal Counsel', which has expertise mainly in commercial law, corporate law, family law, employment and labor law, land law, banking law, constitutional law, criminal law, IPR and in conducting litigations before courts of different hierarchies. Our civil and criminal law experts from reputed law chambers will provide the legal summary advice.
I'm Nibir (not real name) from Chittagong wanting a suggestion from you. I've a relation with a Muslim girl for a long time. In the mean time we have finished our academic education and we both are committed to marry. But we none want to divert. we have read a article written by you through internet and we become known that according to the special marriage act of 1872 it will not be possible for us to make the marry remaining ourselves as Hindu and Muslim. We need to declare ourselves as atheist by a notary public before registering the marriage. That was not problem to us. We went to several notaries public and discussed it, they also had the idea but shown unwillingness because of being conservative minded. The advocates we met wanted to do it after diversion me as a Muslim. We don't want this. We want to register as atheist. So, we seek help to you that if you have any known notary public register in Chittagong from whom we can do it. And where we can register the marriage?
I would like to thank you very much for your queries. From the given fact it appears that you have correctly understood the requirements as far as marriage between persons professing different religions in Bangladesh is concerned. However, under the Special Marriage Act 1872, cross marriage is possible among persons professing certain specified different religions and also among persons declaring themselves as non-believers. A marriage between a Hindu and Muslim is not allowed under the Special Marriage Act 1872 or any other law in Bangladesh.
When a marriage is solemnized under the Special Marriage Act 1872, the bride and the bridegroom have to sign a Declaration which reads as:“I do not profess the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Parsi, Buddhist, Sikh or Jaina religion: or (as the case may be) I profess the Hindu, or the Buddhist, or the Sikh or the Jaina religion”.
Construing the words of the aforementioned Declaration, it appears that you may either declare yourself a non-believer i.e. professing none of the religions or you may declare to profess any one of the religions listed there in. Marriage is only allowed between persons declaring to profess any one of the religions specifically mentioned in the second part of the Declaration. Hence, if you declare that you are a Hindu, it will not be possible for you to marry the Muslim girl as the name of Islam religion is not mentioned there in. Therefore, the girl has only the option to marry under this Act if she declares herself a non-believer. In consequence, you can marry the girl by declaring yourself a non-believer (i.e. conforming to the second part of the Declaration). Thus, as you mentioned in the query, it appears to be possible for both of you to get married by declaring yourselves as non-believers.
You do not have to go to any Notary Public or Lawyer separately for declaring yourselves as non-believers as both of you have to sign the declarations under the 1872 Act, while the marriage is being registered.
I hope you will have answer to your queries from the aforesaid opinion.
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