Marriage Under Parsi Law

The present-day Parsis descended from a group of Iranian Zoroastrians who immigrated to Western India over 1,000 years ago due to persecution by Muslims. Over the centuries, since the first Zoroastrians arrived in India, the Parsis have integrated themselves into Indian society while simultaneously maintaining their own distinct customs and traditions (and thus, ethnic identity). 

  As per Marriage Laws in India, The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 (PMDA) 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. They are basically those who have descended from the original Persian emigrants and who are born of both Zoroastrian parents and who profess the Zoroastrian religion.     

The expression ‘Parsi’ carries more territorial or racial connotations than religious connotations. The religion of every Parsi is the Zoroastrian religion; but it does not follow that very Zoroastrian is a Parsi. In Sir Dinshaw M. Petit v. Sir Jamsetji Jijibhai, 11 Bom. L. R. 85: (83 Bom. 509) and the observations of Sir Dinshaw Davar appearing at p. 128 were relied upon. Sir Dinahaw Davar at that page says that the Parsi community consists of Parsis who are descended from the original Persian emigrants, and who are born of both Zoroastrian parents, and who profess the Zoroastrian, religion, the Iranis from Persia professing Zoroastrian religion, who come to India, either temporarily or permanently, and the children of Parsi fathers by alien mothers who have been duly and properly admitted into the religion Parsi Christian or a Parsi Muslim.         

A valid Parsi marriage in India is adduced when the following requisites are observed:

  • The parties should not be related to each other in any degree of consanguinity or affinity set forth in Schedule I

  • Marriage is to solemnized according to Parsi form of ceremony “Ashirvad” by a priest in presence 2 other Parsi witnesses.

  • Consent father or guardian is necessary if both the parties have not attained the age of 21.

If a Parsi individual contracts a marriage without having been lawfully divorced from existing husband/wife or such marriage been declared null and void, then such will be accused of bigamy under section 494 & 495 of the Indian Penal Code.    

As per Sec. 6 of Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act every marriage contracted under this Act is certified immediately on solemnization of the marriage by the priest in the form contained in Schedule II. However, no marriage shall be deemed to be invalid solely by the reason that it was not certified under Sec. 6.