Guide to Marriage Registration In India

A marriage certificate is a document which is a declaration an official statement that states that two people are married. In India, marriages can be registered under two acts namely the Hindu marriage act, 1955 or the Special marriage act, 1954. When the marriage between two persons is registered under either Hindu marriage act or special marriage act, a marriage certificate is a legal proof for those going for marrige registrations.

It is mandatory to register a marriage between two individuals and since 2014 it is compulsory to register a marriage under Hindu marriage act or special marriage act as per govt of India. It is a common misconception that in order to register a marriage, the couple has to visit the court. However, it is required to visit the Sub-Divisional Magistrate office for registration of marriage. Registration of marriage is compulsory since the year 2006, after the commencement of this act.

For a marriage to be valid it does not need to be registered with the registrar of marriages. When the marriage has been solemnized according to Hindu Rituals, the fact that it has not been duly registered with the authorities does not affect the validity of the marriage.

Why is marriage registration important in India?

After the case of Seema v/s Ashwani Kumar in 2006, it was held by the supreme court of India, that registration of marriage would be mandatory. It was made compulsory to favor the interest of the woman.

The following are the reason why registration of marriage is required in India:

  1. Marriage Registration would prove to be a legal proof that the couple has been married and it would be the most important document while obtaining various documents such as passport, changing your maiden names etc.
  2. As many untrustworthy husbands deny being married to their spouses altogether and living their better halves for reasons best known to them and living their spouses in the lurch, for seeking maintenance, custody of their children or inheritance of property etc. It is imperative for such women to have their marriages registered, so that they can legally claim their rights and fight for them.

MARRIAGE REGISTRATION IN INDIA:

Since the supreme court of India has made the marriage registration compulsory, all the marriages in India have to be registered under either i) Hindu Marriage Act,1955 or ii) Special Marriage Act,1954.

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is only applicable to Hindus. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 allows registration of only those marriages which has already been solemnized. In other words the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 cannot solemnize any marriage by the registrar. The state government may make rules for registration of Hindu marriages in order to facilitate the proof of Hindu marriages. Section 8 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 provides for registration of marriages and the state legislature lays down all the rules contained in this section.

Under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, those Hindu marriages which have been solemnized in accordance with religious customs and rituals can be only registered. This act is only applicable when both husband and wife are either Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs or Jains or they have been converted into the above-mentioned religions. It is not a valid Hindu marriage if either of the party is a Christian or a Muslim. The Hindu marriage becomes complete if it includes the ritual saptpadi (the taking seven steps by the bride and the groom jointly around the sacred fire), the marriage completes & binds when the seventh step is taken. These ceremonies may vary according to the customs and traditions followed by the parties The parties i.e. the husband and the wife have to apply to the concerned authorities in whose jurisdiction the marriage has been solemnized or either of the party i.e. either the husband or the wife have been residing in that locality. The parties have to submit few documents along with an affidavit of a notary/ Executive Magistrate to prove that the couple has been married under the Hindu Marriage Act,1955 and are mentally fit for marrying and are not related to each other which is in the prohibition.

Both the parties of the marriage have to appear before the Registrar along with their parents or guardians or any other witness within one month from their date of marriage. The marriage is registered duly in front of the Registrar or tahsildar of the district, wherever the parties got married. The marriages which are registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 do not require any notice. It can be registered on the same day of the filling of an application or a few days of moving the application for marriage. After a few days of such registration the parties will receive a certificate of marriage which will be a proof of registration of marriage.

Procedure to apply under the Hindu Marriage Act

For a marriage to be duly registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, the parties to the marriage i.e. the husband and wife can apply at the office of the sub-divisional magistrate in whose jurisdiction both the parties or either the husband or the wife resides. The application can be made on any working day.

The application form is to be filled carefully and is to be signed at the space specified by both husband and wife. On the day of application, all the documents submitted by the parties to the marriage are verified and a day is fixed for the appointment and such date is communicated to the parties for registration. On such day which is priory fixed on the date of application, both the parties, along with a gazetted officer who attended their marriage, need to be present before the ADM. The certificate of marriage will be issued on the same day.

Documents required for registration of the Hindu Marriage:

The following are the documents required for registration of hindu marriages:

  • Duly filled application forms with the signatures of the parties of marriage i.e. both husband and wife.
  • Address proof: voter id/ ration card/ passport/ aadhaar card/driving license, etc
  • Proof of birthdates of both husband and wife (birth certificate)
  • 2 passport size photographs, 1 marriage photograph.
  • Separate marriage affidavits in prescribed formats from both the parties to the marriage i.e. husband and wife.
  • Aadhaar card.
  • All the above-mentioned documents must be self-attested.
  • Marriage invitation card which includes the date and day of marriage, the time of marriage, the place of marriage.

FOR ONLINE REGISTRATION:

  • Select the district one of the parties to the marriage reside and then click on continue.
  • Fill in the details of husband and choose “registration of Marriage Certificate”.
  • Fill in the Marriage Certificate form and choose the date of appointment.
  • Click on “Submit application”.
  • The parties to the marriage will then be allotted a temporary number that will be found printed on the acknowledgment slip and form is done.
  • The party is then required to take the printout of the acknowledgment slip.

APPOINTMENT:

When a marriage is being registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, the parties will receive an appointment within 15 days of the online registration.

When a marriage is being registered under the Special Marriage Act, the parties will receive an appointment within 60 days of the online registration.

WITNESS:

Any person who was present at the wedding of the parties of the marriage can be a witness in the registration of marriage. The witness must have a PAN card and a proof of residence (voter id/ ration card/ passport/ aadhaar card/driving license, etc)

“TATKAL” MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE:

In 2004, the revenue department of Delhi government introduced in the month of April “tatkal” service ensuring a single day authorization of the marriage under which the registration process will be completed on a priority basis. This tatkal service became operational on 22nd April,2004 and it enables the citizens of India to register nuptials and get their marriage certificate issued within one day i.e. 24 hours on a fixed payment 10,000 as a fee.

BENEFITS OF MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE:

  • If the party to the marriage is applying for a passport or opening a bank account after the marriage then the marriage certificate is required.
  • The marriage certificate is extremely helpful in obtaining visas for the parties of the marriage i.e. husband and wife.
  • As the foreign embassies in India as well as in countries outside India, do not recognize traditional marriages i.e. the saptapadi system of Hindu marriage, the marriage certificate is mandatory for the couple to travel abroad using a spouse visa.
  • Enables a spouse in claiming life insurance return or bank deposits in case of demise of the insurer or depositor without any nominee.
  • The legal proceedings will be easy in case of succession of property to the spouse.
  • After the dissolution of the first marriage, a person is able to enter the matrimonial alliance for the second time.
  • For the transfer of property or custody of kids in the case of legal separation, the court demands a certificate of marriage to be produced in the family court.
  • In case one of the spouses is working abroad and want to take along his / her partner then he/she will require the marriage certificate to obtain the work permit from the countries consulate. The foreign embassies do not issue the work permit in the absence of a valid marriage certificate in such cases.
FEES FOR Marriage registration:

Rs. 100 in case of Hindu Marriage Act.

Rs. 150 in case of Special Marriage Act.

Deposit the fees with the cashier of the district where either both or one of the parties to the marriage reside and attach the receipt with the application form duly filled.

DEGREE OF PROHIBITED RELATIONSHIPS:

Two individuals are said to be covered under the degrees of prohibited relation if the fall under the following categories:

  • If one of them is the lineal ascendant of the other,
  • If one was the husband/ wife or lineal ascendant or descendant of the other,
  • If one of them was the wife of the brother or of the fathers or mothers brother or of the grandfathers or grandmothers brother of the other,
  • If they are brother and sister, aunt and nephew, uncle or niece, or children of brother and sister or two brothers or two sisters.

A marriage falling within the above categories will thus be considered null and void. Such a marriage will not have any legal standing in the eyes of law.

EXCEPTION:

The customs play an important role here i.e. if there is a custom governing the parties, they may marry even if they fall under the degrees of prohibited relationship. Many religions allow members of the family to marry within their bloodline in order to keep their bloodline pure. Such marriages are allowed by the government due to the absence of a uniform civil code.

PUNISHMENTS:

A marriage which is solemnized between the parties within the degrees of prohibited relationships mentioned above is considered null and void in the eyes of law and thus cannot be enforceable by the parties of the marriage. The parties of such marriage are liable to be punished with a simple imprisonment for a period of 1 month or fine or Rs.10, 000 /- or with both.

CONDITIONS FOR A MARRIAGE TO BE REGARDED AS A LAWFUL ONE IN THE EYES OF LAW:

  • Neither of the parties of the marriage i.e. the husband or the wife should have a spouse living at the time of the marriage. In other words, either the previous spouse of either husband or wife must be dead at the time of the consecutive marriage or must be duly divorced at the time of their consecutive marriage.
  • The physical and mental health of both the parties should be normal at the time of marriage and it should be proved by submitting an affidavit by way of a notary.
  • The parties of marriage should be major. The age of the parties i.e. the female has completed the age of eighteen and the male has completed the age of twenty-one.
  • The parties aren’t within the degree of prohibited relationship provided that custom governing one of the parties permits such a marriage between them.

The Special Marriage Act, 1954:

The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is applicable to all Indian Citizens. Any person, no matter which religion he follows such as Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikhs, Parsi, Christians, Muslims, Jewish, etc can perform marriage and get it registered under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The Special Marriage Act, 1954 provides for solemnization of marriage with registration by a marriage officer/ Registrar. Unlike the Hindu Marriage Act, under The Special Marriage Act, one month notice period is a mandatory provision and a provision which could not be avoided under any circumstances.

The parties to the marriage i.e. the husband and the wife have to give a notice of marriage in a prescribed form to the Marriage Registrar of the district in which both the parties or at least one of the parties have resided for a period which is not less than 30 days immediately preceding the date on which the prescribed notice has been given. The copy of such notice is affixed on the notice board of the registrar’s office and another copy of such notice has been sent to the marriage officer of the area where either of the parties are having their current/ permanent address for similar publication. After the expiry of the stipulated time period which is one month from the date of publication of the notice, if such notice does not receive any objection, the marriage officer has to inquire into them and has to arrive at a decision where to accept the application and solemnize the marriage and duly register it or refuse to solemnize the marriage.

Both the parties to the marriage i.e. the husband and the wife have to be present on the date of registration of marriage with the required documents as well as an affidavit which states the mental condition of the parties and that the parties are not related to each other in the relationship that is prohibited to get married. Such a marriage has to be registered in the presence of these three witnesses the marriage has to be solemnized. The Marriage officer registers the marriage and a certificate of marriage is issued to the parties within a few days of marriage which will be a proof of their marriage. According to this act, no religious ceremonies are a prerequisite for a marriage to be complete.

Other forms of marriage registration:

Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 is the act drafted for the purpose of solemnization and registration of Christian marriages. The person who can solemnize Christian marriages is covered under section 5 of the act and if the marriage is not solemnized in accordance with such provisions is declared to be void. The marriage can be solemnized by any person

  1. Who has received Episcopal ordination, provided that the marriage is solemnized according to the rules, rites, ceremonies and customs of the church of which he is a minister.
  2. By a clergyman to the church of Scotland
  3. By a minister of religion licensed under the act.
  4. By, or in presence of a marriage registrar appointed under the act.
  5. By any person licensed under the act to grant certificates of marriage

Time and place of for solemnization of Christian marriages.

The marriage should be solemnized between 6 am to 7 pm only, unless there is no church within a distance of 5 miles or the clergyman has received a special license to do so under the hand and seal of the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese or his Commissary.

Marriage solemnized by a marriage registrar:

Section 38 provides that when marriage is intended to be solemnized by or in presence of a marriage registrar; one of the parties to the intended marriage must give a notice in writing in the prescribed form to the marriage registrar of the district in which the parties reside. The copy of such notice is affixed on the notice board of the registrar’s office and another copy of such notice has been sent to the marriage officer of the area where either of the parties are having their current/ permanent address for similar publication. After the expiry of the stipulated time period which is one month from the date of publication of the notice, if such notice does not receive any objection, the marriage officer has to inquire into them and has to arrive at a decision where to accept the application and solemnize the marriage and duly register it or refuse to solemnize the marriage

Certification of marriages of Indian Christians:

Section 60 lays down that any marriage between Indian Christians shall without the preliminary notice required under chapter 3, be certified under the act if the following 3 conditions are fulfilled:

  1. The bridegroom should be above the age of 21 years and the bride should be above 18 years of age.
  2. Neither person should have a wife or husband who is alive. And if alive they should be legally divorced.
  3. Each of the parties must, in the presence of a person licensed under the act and in the presence of at least two credible witnesses say to other as under

“I call upon this persons here present to witness that I, A.B., in the presence of the almighty God and in the name of our Jesus Christ, do take thee C.D. to be my lawfully wedded wife ( or husband).”

If the above conditions are fulfilled, the person who is licensed under the act in whose presence such a declaration has been made must, on the application of either party to the marriage and on the payment of prescribed fees, grant the certificate of such marriage. The certificate is to be signed by the licensed person and is admissible in evidence as conclusive proof of such a marriage having been performed.

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