Kandyan Marriage and Divorce Act

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

2. Application of Act.

3. Marriages between persons subject to Kandyan law.

PART I

VALIDITY OF KANDYAN MARRIAGES AND LEGITIMISATION OF ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN

4. Lawful age of marriage.

5. Prohibited degrees of relationship.

6. Second marriage without legal dissolution of first marriage invalid.

7. Legitimisation of illegitimate children.

PART II

CONSENT TO MARRIAGE

8. Consent required to marriage of minor.

9. Authority to give or refuse consent.

10. Consent of Registrar.

11. Appeals.

12. Power of court on appeals.

13. Parties to be given an opportunity of being heard.

14. Procedure at hearing of appeals.

15. Effect of order of court.

PART III

REGISTRATION OF KANDYAN MARRIAGES

16. Notice of prospective Kandyan marriage.

17. Entry and of Notice of a prospective of Kandyan marriage.

18. Issue of certificates in respect of Kandyan marriages.

19. Special licences for issue of marriage notice.

20. Objections to issue of marriage notice certificates.

21. Inquiries into objections to issue of marriage notice certificates.

22. Solemnisation of Kandyan marriages.

23. Registration of marriages.

23A. Issue of copy of marriage registration entry free.

24. What constitutes solemnisation and registration of Kandyan marriages in authorised places and between authorised hours.

24A. Resolution of doubts.

25. Transmission of duplicates of entries made by Registrars.

26. Replacement of original or duplicate marriage registration entry in certain circumstances.

27. Consequences of delay in solemnisation and registration of Kandyan marriages.

28. Registration to constitute best evidence of marriage.

29. Proof of certain matters not required once Kandy an marriage is registered.

30. Mode of rectifying failures to register, and errors in registration of Kandyan marriages.

31. Issue of marriage notice certificates and solemnisation and registration of Kandyan marriages upon alteration of divisions.

PART IV

DIVORCES

32. Grounds for divorce.

33. Divorce.

34. Appeals.

35. Special provisions relating to orders for the dissolution of Kandyan marriages.

36. Registration best evidence of divorce.

PART V

ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS

37. Registrar-General.

38. Assistant Registrar-General.

39. District Registrars.

40. Division of Kandyan provinces into divisions.

41. Appointment of Registrars of Kandyan Marriages.

42. Powers and duties of officers.

43. Residence, office and additional offices of Divisional Registrars.

44. Attendance of Divisional Registrar at office.

45. Books to be kept by Registrars.

46. Publication of lists or Divisional Registrars and their offices.

47. Power to make rules.

PART VI

GENERAL

48. Production of books for inspection.

49. Custody of registers.

50. Surrender of records by Registrar on his ceasing to hold office.

51. Correction of clerical errors in registers.

52. Destruction of documents.

53. Powers in relation to inquiries.

54. Fees.

PART VII

MISCELLANEOUS

55. Adjustments.

56. Certified copies of books.

57. Service of notices.

58. Expenses.

59. Disposal of fees.

PART VIII

OFFENCES, PENALTIES AND INTERPRETATION

60. False declarations.

61. Destruction of documents.

62. Undue solemnisation of marriages.

63. Offences by Registrars.

64. Penalties.

65. Offences triable by Magistrate's Court.

66. Interpretation.

PART IX

TRANSITORY PROVISIONS.

67. Registers, regulations made under Marriage Ordinance.

68. Special provisions applicable to certain marriages.

69. Application of Part IV to certain marriages.

70. Kandyan Succession Ordinance not to apply to marriages under this Act.

SCHEDULE

41 of 1975,

44 of 1952,

34 of 1954,

22 of 1955,

19 of 1995,

39 of 2006,

23 of 2013.

AN ACT to amend and consolidate the law relating to Kandyan Marriages and Divorces, and to make provision for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

[Date of Commencement: 1st August, 1954]

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Kandyan Marriage and Divorce Act.

2. Application of Act.

The provisions of this Act shall not, unless otherwise expressly provided therein, apply to marriages contracted before the appointed date.

3. Marriages between persons subject to Kandyan law.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act—

(a) a marriage, between persons subject to Kandyan law, shall be solemnised and registered under this Act or under the Marriage Registration Ordinance; and

(b) any such marriage which is not so solemnised and registered shall be invalid.

(2) The fact that a marriage, between persons subject to Kandyan law, is solemnised and registered under the Marriage Registration Ordinance shall not affect the rights of such persons, or of other persons claiming title from or through such persons, to succeed to property under and in accordance with the Kandyan law.

PART I

VALIDITY OF KANDYAN MARRIAGES AND LEGITIMISATION OF ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN

4. Lawful age of marriage.

(1) No Kandyan marriage contracted after the coming into force of this subsection, shall be valid if, at the time of marriage—

(a) either party thereto is under the lawful age of marriage; or

(b) both parties thereto are under the lawful age of marriage.

[S 4(1) subs by s 2 of Act 19 of 1995.]

(2) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (1), a Kandyan marriage shall be deemed not to be or to have been invalid under that subsection by reason of one party and one party only thereto being, at the time of marriage, under the lawful age of marriage—

(a) if both parties thereto cohabit as husband and wife, for a period of one year after the party aforesaid has attained the lawful age of marriage; or

(b) if a child is born of the marriage before the party aforesaid has attained the lawful age of marriage.

(3) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (1), a Kandyan marriage shall be deemed not to be or to have been invalid under that subsection by reason, of both parties thereto being, at the time of marriage, under the lawful age of marriage—

(a) if both such parties cohabit as husband and wife for a period of one year after they both have attained the lawful age of marriage; or

(b) if a child is born of the marriage before both or either of them have attained the lawful age of marriage.

5. Prohibited degrees of relationship.

(1) No Kandyan marriage shall be valid—

(a) if either party thereto is directly descended from the other; or

(b) if the female party thereto is the sister of the male party thereto either by the full or the half-blood, or the daughter of his brother or of his sister by the full or the half-blood, or a descendant from either of them, or the daughter of his wife by another father, or his son's or grandson's or father's or grandfather's widow; or

(c) if the male party thereto is the brother of the female party thereto either by the full or the half-blood, or the son of her brother or of her sister by the full or the half-blood, or a descendant from either of them, or the son of her husband by another mother, or her deceased daughter's or granddaughter's or mother's or grandmother's husband.

(2) No marriage or cohabitation shall take place between persons who, being subject to Kandyan law, stand towards each other in any of the degrees of relationship specified in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) or paragraph (c) of
subsection (1) of this section; and in the event of any marriage or cohabitation between such persons, each such person shall be guilty of an offence under this Act.

6. Second marriage without legal dissolution of first marriage invalid.

No Kandyan marriage shall be valid—

(a) if one party thereto has contracted a prior marriage; and

(b) if the other party to such prior marriage is still living, unless such prior marriage has been lawfully dissolved or declared void.

7. Legitimisation of illegitimate children.

A valid Kandyan marriage shall render legitimate any children who may have been procreated (whether before or after the appointed date) by the parties thereto previous to such marriage and children so legitimised shall be entitled to the same and the like rights as if they had been procreated by the parties thereto subsequent to such marriage.

PART II

CONSENT TO MARRIAGE

8. Consent required to marriage of minor.

(1) The consent of a competent authority is hereby required to the marriage under this Act of a minor subject to Kandyan law.

(2) For the purposes of this Act, the expression "competent authority”, in relation to a minor, means—

(a) the father of the minor; or

(b) if the father is dead, or is under any legal incapacity, or is unable to give or refuse his consent by reason of absence from Sri Lanka, the mother of the minor; or

(c) if both the father and mother of the minor are dead, or are under any legal incapacity, or are unable to give or refuse consent by reason of absence from Sri Lanka, the guardian or guardians of the minor appointed by the father or, if the father is dead, or is under any legal incapacity, by the mother or, if the mother is dead, or is under any legal incapacity, by a competent court; or

(d) if both the father and mother of the minor are dead, or are under any legal incapacity, or are unable to give or refuse consent by reason of absence from Sri Lanka, and if further—

(i) no guardian or guardians of the minor has or have been appointed by the father, mother or a competent court; or

(ii) the guardian or guardians so appointed is or are dead, or is or are under any legal incapacity, or is or are unable to give or refuse consent by reason of absence from Sri Lanka, the District Registrar for the district in which the minor resides.

9. Authority to give or refuse consent.

Any competent authority whose consent to the marriage of a minor is required under the last pre- ceding section may give or refuse such consent as to such authority may seem fit.

10. Consent of Registrar.

(1) A District Registrar shall, if he is a competent authority in relation to a minor, entertain any application made under this section for his consent to the marriage of that minor under this Act.

(2) The application shall be made by means of a written petition either by the minor or by any other person interested in the marriage of the minor.

(3) The petition shall bear a stamp or stamps of the prescribed value which shall be supplied by the applicant.

(4) The petition—

(a) shall be in the prescribed form;

(b) shall state the name and address of the applicant;

(c) shall state in what capacity he makes the application;

(d) shall, if the applicant is merely a person interested in the marriage of the minor, state the name and address of the minor;

(e) shall contain such other particulars as may be prescribed; and

(f) shall be signed by the applicant.

(5) Upon the receipt of the petition, the District Registrar shall forthwith cause a notice to be served upon the applicant, and, if the applicant is merely a person interested in the marriage of the minor, upon the minor.

(6) The notice—

(a) shall indicate that at a time and date specified in the notice the District Registrar will attend at his office or at such other place as may be specified therein for the purpose of disposing of such application : and

(b) shall call upon the person to whom the notice is addressed to appear before the Registrar along with his witnesses, if any, on the date and at the time and place so indicated.

(7) The District Registrar shall attend on the date and at the time and place indicated in the notice and shall dispose of the application after such summary inquiry as he may deem necessary either on that date or on any other date to which he may adjourn or post pone the inquiry. The Registrar shall communicate his decision in writing to the applicant and, if the applicant is merely a person interested in the marriage of the minor, to the minor.

(8) Before disposing of the application the District Registrar shall give the applicant and, if the applicant is merely a person interested in the marriage of the minor, the minor and their respective witnesses, if any, an opportunity of being heard.

(9) The District Registrar shall keep a record in writing of all proceedings taken by him under this section for the purpose of disposing of the application.

11. Appeals.

(1) An appeal against the refusal of a competent authority to give his consent to the marriage of a minor under this Act shall lie to the District Court having jurisdiction in the area in which the minor resides.

(2) The appeal shall be preferred by means of a written petition either by the minor or by any other person interested in the marriage of the minor:

Provided, however, that no appeal against the refusal to give his consent by a District Registrar in his capacity as a competent authority in relation to the minor may be preferred by any person who is merely a person interested in the marriage of the minor unless the application for such consent was made by that person.

(3) The petition of appeal shall bear a stamp or stamps of the prescribed value which shall be supplied by the appellant.

(4) The petition of appeal—

(a) shall be in the prescribed form;

(b) shall state the name and address of the appellant;

(c) shall state the name and address of the competent authority against whose decision the appeal is preferred;

(d) shall state in what capacity he makes the appeal;

(e) shall, if the appellant is merely a person interested in the marriage of the minor, state the name and address of such minor;

(f) shall contain such other particulars as may be prescribed; and

(g) shall be signed by the appellant.

(5) Where an appeal is preferred under this section against the decision of a District Registrar in his capacity as a competent authority, the petition of appeal shall in the first instance be forwarded to that Registrar. Such Registrar shall forthwith, upon the receipt of the petition, forward it to the District Court along with the relevant record kept by him under section 10.

12. Power of court on appeals.

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (2), a District Court may, in its absolute discretion, on any appeal against the refusal of a competent authority to give his consent to the marriage of a minor under this Act, make order—

(a) confirming the decision of such authority; or

(b) setting aside that decision and consenting to the marriage,

(2) No order shall be made by a District Court under subsection (1)(b) of this section unless the court is satisfied that the refusal of a competent authority to consent to the marriage of a minor under this Act is unreasonable.

(3) The District Court shall cause a copy of the order to be served upon the appellant, the competent authority and, if the appellant is merely a person interested in the marriage of the minor, upon the minor.

(4) The decision of a District Court under this section on any appeal shall be final and conclusive and shall not be subject to appeal.

13. Parties to be given an opportunity of being heard.

Before disposing of any appeal under this Part, a District Court shall give the parties thereto including the minor to whose marriage the appeal relates and their respective witnesses, if any, an opportunity of being heard.

14. Procedure at hearing of appeals.

At the hearing of any appeal to a District Court under this Part, the procedure to be followed shall, save as herein before provided and subject to any rules made by the Supreme Court for the purposes of this Act, be such as the court may direct either generally or in any particular case.

15. Effect of order of court.

Where, on any appeal under this Part a District Court makes order setting aside the decision of a competent authority and consenting to the marriage of a minor, the consent of that authority required by this Act for the marriage of that minor shall be deemed for all the purposes of this Act to have been given with effect from the date of the order.

PART III

REGISTRATION OF KANDYAN MARRIAGES

16. Notice of prospective Kandyan Marriage.

Every prospective Kandyan marriage shall be notified to the appropriate Registrar hereinafter specified by the service of notice thereof on such Registrar as hereinafter provided—

(1) Where both parties thereto have resided in the same division for a period of not less than ten days reckoned from the date of service or the notice, one party thereto shall serve notice thereof on the Divisional Registrar for that division or on the District Registrar for the district in which that division is situated.

(2) Where both parties thereto have resided in different divisions for the period referred to in paragraph (1) of this section, each party thereto shall serve notice thereof on the Divisional Registrar for the division in which that party so resided or on the District Registrar for the district in which that division is situated :

Provided that where both such divisions are situated in the same district, notice of the marriage shall, instead of being served by each party thereto on the District Registrar for that district under the preceding provisions of this section, be served by one such party on that District Registrar.

(3) Where only one party thereto has resided in any division for the period referred to in paragraph (1) of this section, that party shall serve notice thereof on the Divisional Registrar for that division or on the District Registrar for the district in which that division is situated.

(4) Where both parties thereto have not resided in any division for the period referred to in paragraph (1) of this section, one such party, being a party who has resided in a division for a period of not less than four days reckoned from the date of service of the notice, shall serve notice thereof on the Divisional Registrar for that division or on the District Registrar for the district in which that division is situated.

(5) In the event of the absence from Sri Lanka of one party thereto the other party may give notice thereof under paragraph (3) or paragraph (4) of this section in anticipation of the arrival in Sri Lanka of such party.

(6) The notice shall be substantially in the prescribed form, and—

(a) shall state—

(i) the name in full (including, if it is different, the name by which the party is commonly known), age occupation or calling, civil condition (whether unmarried, widowed or divorced) and place of residence of each party thereto:

(ii) the nature of the marriage (whether in binna or diga); and

(iii) the length of residence of each party thereto in the district or division, as the case may be, of that Registrar;

(b) shall bear on its face or have attached thereto the written consent of any person whose consent to the marriage is required by this Act;

(c) shall contain a declaration made under paragraph (7) of this section and a certification by endorsement made under paragraph (9) of this section;

(d) shall be accompanied by a receipt issued by the Divisional Registrar or the District Registrar as the case may be, in proof of payment of the prescribed fee; and

[S 16(6)(d) subs by s 2 of Act 23 of 2013.]

(e) shall be signed by that party.

(7) Before the notice is served on a Registrar by a party thereto, that party shall appear in person before the Registrar and, in the presence of the Registrar and two witnesses, make and subscribe a declaration to the following effect—

(a) that to the best of that party's knowledge and belief the particulars stated in the notice are true and correct;

(b) that there is no lawful impediment or other lawful hindrance to the marriage;

(c) that neither party thereto is a minor or that both parties thereto are minors or that one party thereto is a minor; and

(d) that the consent of any person thereto is required by this Act and that such consent has been obtained or that the consent of any person thereto is not required by this Act.

(8) The witnesses to the declaration shall be persons who are personally known to the party and, if the party is not known to the Registrar, to the Registrar, The name in full, occupation or calling and place of residence of each witness shall be entered at the foot of the declaration.

(9) After the declaration has been made and subscribed by a party thereto, the Registrar shall certify by endorsement at the foot of the declaration—

(a) that the party is not known to the Registrar and that the witnesses are known to the Registrar or that such party is known to the Registrar;

(b) that the witnesses have declared to him that they are personally known to such party; and

(c) that the declaration was made and subscribed by the party in the presence of the Registrar.

17. Entry and of Notice of a prospective of Kandyan marriage.

A Registrar shall, on the service on him of notice Kandyan marriage, forthwith comply with the following provisions—

(a) The Registrar shall file such notice and keep it with the records of his office.

(b) The Registrar shall enter in his "Marriage Notice Register such of the particulars specified in the notice as may be prescribed (hereinafter referred to as the "marriage notice entry”).

(c) The Registrar shall publish the notice by exhibiting or causing to be exhibited a true copy of the notice or of a prescribed extract thereof at some conspicuous place in his office for a continuous period of at least twelve days reckoned from the date of the marriage notice entry.

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