How to procure a Marriage Registration Certificate in India?


February 17, 2020
By Advocate Chikirsha Mohanty



Did you know, marriages in India are valid even if they are not registered? However, registering a marriage can always be beneficial in numerous ways such as for procuring a visa, changing the maiden name of the wife, in determining the legitimacy of the child, etc.
 

What does Registration of Marriage mean?

Registration of marriage means a permanent recording of the occurrence and characteristics of the event of marriage between two parties as provided by the law and in accordance with the legal requirements of a country. Marriage registration is done primarily with the motive of creating a database of the marriage between two parties in the government’s directory so as to ensure there is a well-maintained record of the events occurring around and also to prevent the commission of offenses like child marriage, bigamy and gender violence.

In 2006, it was made mandatory by the Supreme Court of India to register all marriages either under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or Special Marriage Act, 1954. However, the rules of registration of marriages under the two acts are different from each other. 

The Hindu Marriage Act applies to the Hindus, whereas registration of marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 can be done by all the citizens of India irrespective of their religion. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 provides for the registration of an already solemnized marriage and has no provision of solemnization of a marriage by a Marriage Registrar.  On the other hand, a marriage is solemnized as well as registered by a Marriage Officer under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872, provides for provisions for solemnization and registration of all the Christian marriages whereas the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 allows the registration of marriage between the parties to the marriage belonging to the Parsi community.

The minimum age to be eligible for marrying, in India, is 21 years for males and 18 years for females.

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What is a Marriage Registration Certificate?

A Marriage Registration Certificate is an official statement of proof of the marriage of two people. Registration of marriages in India can be done under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Special Marriage Act, 1954, Indian Christian Marriages Act, 1872 and the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936.

The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act, 1886 made a provision for effective registration of marriages under the Indian Christian Marriages Act, 1872 and the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936.

For marriages under any of the above-mentioned acts, a marriage certificate is a  legitimate proof of a couple’s marriage.  
 

Benefits of acquiring a Marriage Registration Certificate

A Marriage Registration Certificate is a document of utmost importance for a married couple. It is conclusive proof of marriage between two parties and helps:
 

  1. During the divorce proceedings,

  2. In determining the legitimacy of the child,

  3. As a piece of evidence if the spouse wants to change her name after marriage,

  4. While claiming a property of a spouse in the case when one is not a nominee in it,

  5. Also as a part of a genealogical history,

  6. In applying for a passport or opening a bank account after the wedding,

  7. In obtaining visas for both husband and wife,
     

Purpose of Registering a Marriage

A marriage certificate is a document that serves as conclusive evidence of a marriage between two parties. It is an important document and plays a major role in proving that two parties are legally married to each other and also for other purposes such as procuring a marriage registration certificate, a passport, opening a bank account, changing one’s maiden name, applying for an income certificate, visa, etc.
 

Whom to approach for the Registration of Marriage?

In order to legally register their marriage, the parties to the marriage have to approach the office of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, under whose jurisdiction the marriage has been solemnized or, within whose jurisdiction the parties to the marriage had resided for at least 6 months before their marriage.

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Online Registration of Marriage

A married couple can also register their marriage online. The procedure to apply online is as follows:

  1. Select the district you are residing into and continue.

  2. Fill in the husband’s details where required and choose “Registration of Marriage Certificate”.

  3. Fill the application form and choose a suitable date of appointment.

  4. A temporary number will, thereby, be allotted to the married couple. The temporary number will be found printed on the acknowledgment slip.

  5. ?Take a printout of the acknowledgment slip to be submitted along with the other documents on the date of the appointment.


The applicants are also required to take a witness along with at the time of submission of the application for the registration of their marriage to the office of the Sub-registrar. Any person who had attended the marriage of the parties can be a witness of the marriage before the sub-registrar, provided that the said person has a valid PAN Card and address proof as well.
 

Tatkal Marriage Certificate

In April 2014, the Revenue Department of Delhi government introduced a ‘tatkal’ service for the parties registering for marriage certificate ensuring a single-day authorization of the marriage under which the registration process will be undertaken on priority.

This service has been functional since April 22, 2014, and it enables the citizens to register their marriage and get a certificate issued within 24 hours of payment of Rs. 10,000 as a fee.
 

Registration under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

India, being a diverse nation, allows each citizen to be governed according to their personal laws which is relevant to their religious views. The same applies in the case of marriages and divorce between two parties.

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 provides guidance for Hindus to be in a proper marriage bond. It gives a meaning to the marriage between two parties, cohabiting rights to both the parties and safety to their offspring so that they do not have to face any parental issues.

The Hindu Marriage Act is applicable in cases where both the parties to a marriage are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs, or in the case where they have converted into any of these religions.

There is a well-defined process that needs to be followed in order to register a marriage between two parties under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The procedure and other related information for registration of a marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is stated below. Please follow:
 

Registration of a Marriage:

A marriage cannot be registered unless the below-mentioned conditions are fulfilled:

  • A ceremony of marriage has taken place;

  • Both parties have been living together as husband and wife.

There is a well-defined process of registration of a marriage under the act. The procedure of registration of marriage in order to procure a marriage registration certificate involves a few steps as defined by the law. Those steps are:

1. Application of registration: For registration of marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the couple can apply at the office of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate in whose jurisdiction both the parties to the marriage have been residing on any working day. The application form must be filled and duly signed by the parties. Once the application form is submitted along with the required documents, verification of all the documents is carried out by the authorized authority on the date of the application itself and a suitable date is fixed for the registration and communicated to the parties to register.

The parties are then required to be present before the Additional District Magistrate on the allotted date along with the Gazetted Officer who witnessed their marriage. If all the formalities are carried out smoothly then the marriage registration certificate is issued to the parties on the same day.

Rs. 100 is to be submitted at the time of submission of the application form while registering a marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
 
2. Documents Required: There are various documents required to be submitted along with the application form for a valid registration of a marriage. The documents are:

  • Completely filled application form duly signed by both the parties,

  • Proof of Address- Voter ID/Ration Card/Passport/Driving License can be submitted as proof of address of the parties to the marriage,

  • Age Proof of both the parties,

  • 2 Passport size photographs,

  • A photograph of any ceremony of the marriage,

  • Separate Marriage Affidavits in the prescribed format from the Husband and the Wife,

  • Aadhaar Card of both the parties,

  • Marriage invitation card.
     

All the documents mentioned above must be self-attested by both parties.

3. Appointment: In the case of the Hindu Marriage Act, the date of appointment received by the parties after the verification of their application form and the submitted documents is usually within 15 of the request and within 60 days in the case of registration under the Special Marriage Act.
 
4. Witness: Any person who was present at the time of the marriage is also required to be present with the married couple before the ADM as a witness. The witness to the marriage must have a legitimate PAN Card and proof of his residence.
 
5. Solemnization of a Hindu Marriage: The Hindu Marriage Act states different ceremonies to be followed by the couple getting married, in a Hindu marriage, by the virtue of section 7 of the act. This provision under the Act states that a Hindu Marriage can be solemnized by following the customary rights and religious ceremonies of either of the parties to the marriage.

The ceremonies to be performed by the parties during the marriage may vary according to the customs and traditions followed by the parties to the marriage.

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The other related information such as whom does the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 apply to or what are the conditions of a marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or the degrees of prohibited relationship under the law, etc. are stated as follows:
 

Applicability of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955:

This Act applies to all forms of Hindus including a person who is a Virashaiva, a Lingayat or a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj and also to the off-shoots of the Hindu religion as mentioned in Article 44 of the Constitution of India. These include Jains and Buddhists. The Act also extends its application to any person who is a permanent resident in India and who is not a Muslim, Jew, Christian, or Parsi by religion.

This Act lays down a mandate for both the parties to the marriage to be a Hindu or a person belonging from any of the above-stated community/religion must not under the degrees of prohibited relationship as mentioned under the Act itself.
 

Conditions for Marriage:

There are certain conditions that have to be fulfilled for a marriage between two parties to be legal and valid and those conditions are mentioned under sections 5 and 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act. If a ceremony or solemnization takes place but the valid conditions are not met, the marriage doesn’t turn up to be a valid marriage as it either is a void marriage by default or a voidable one. The condition stated under section 5 of the act says that only if both the parties to a marriage are Hindus the marriage is valid and if either of the party to the marriage is a Muslim or a Christian, the marriage, in that case, will not be a valid Hindu Marriage.

Some other important conditions are:

  • Neither of the parties to a marriage must have a spouse living at the time of the marriage,

  • Neither of the two parties is incapable of giving a valid consent to the marriage because of unsoundness of mind,

  • Neither of the two parties has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy,

  • Both the parties have attained the legal age of marriage i.e. 18 years in the case of the bride and 21 years in the case of the bridegroom,

  • Even though the parties are capable of giving valid consent, neither of the parties has been suffering from any mental disorder or of such a quantum as to be unfit for marriage and the procreation of children,

  • The parties aren’t within the degrees of prohibited relationship as stated under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955,

  • The parties are not a lineal ascendant of the other i.e. Sapindas as mentioned under the act.
     

Degrees of prohibited relationship:

As per the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, two parties are said to be covered under the degrees of a prohibited relationship if:

  • one party is the lineal ascendant of the other party,

  • If they are brother and sister, aunt and nephew, uncle and niece, or children of brother and sister or of two brothers or two sisters,

  • One is the husband or wife of the lineal ascendant of the other,

  • If one of them is the wife of the brother or the father’s or mother’s brother or the grandfather’s or grandmother’s brother of the other.

A marriage that falls within the above-mentioned categories will be considered void.
 

Punishment for marriages under the degrees of prohibited relationship:

A marriage which is solemnized between two parties and falls within the category of degrees of prohibited relationship is considered null and void. The parties to such a marriage are liable to the punishment of simple imprisonment for one month or a fine of Rs. 10,000/- or with both.
 

Registration under the Special Marriage Act, 1954

The Special Marriage Act, 1954 unlike the Hindu Marriage Act applies to all the citizens of India irrespective of their religion. Any individual, irrespective of religion can register their marriage under this act. The parties wanting to register their marriage under this Act must give notice in writing in specified forms to the concerned marriage officer, in whose jurisdiction the parties to the marriage have been residing for not less than 30 days starting immediately from the date on which the notice is given.

There are a few steps that are required to be followed in order to register a marriage between two parties under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The process of registration is:

Procedure of Registration:
The first step in the registration of a marriage under this Act is of giving notice in writing in specified forms to the concerned marriage officer of the jurisdiction of the area the parties to the marriage are residing for not less than 30 days right from the date on which the notice is given to the officer.

Thereafter, a copy of the notice is affixed on the notice board of the registration office and a copy of the same is sent to the marriage officer of the area where either of the parties has been residing. 

After the passage of one month from the date of publication of the notice, if there are no objections received by the marriage officer, the marriage may be solemnized. In case of any objection to the marriage, an inquiry is conducted by the marriage officer and the marriage is solemnized after the inquiry is done.

On the day of solemnization, three witnesses are required plus basic identification documents which include proof of age and address of both parties, affidavit concerning these as well marital status, fit mental condition, non-relationship between the parties within the degree of prohibition, passport size photographs and with three witnesses to finally solemnize the marriage. After that, the couple may apply to have their marriage registered and get an official marriage certificate from the registrar. There are certain conditions mentioned under section 4 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 for solemnization of marriage and those are quite similar to the conditions mentioned under section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
Rs. 150 is to be submitted at the time of submission of the application form while registering a marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
The Special Marriage Act, 1954 doesn’t prescribe any religious ceremony to be compulsorily completed or fulfilled in order to solemnize a marriage under this act.
 

Conditions of a Valid Marriage under this Act:

The conditions for a valid marriage as laid under section 4 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 are:

  • Neither of the parties to the marriage should have a spouse living at the time of the marriage between the two parties taking place.

  • Both the parties to the marriage should be physically and mentally capable as per the requirement of the section.

  • Both the parties to the marriage must have completed the legal age to marry i.e. the female must have attained the age of 18 years and the male must have attained the age of 21 years.

  • The parties to the marriage must not be within the degree of prohibited relationship as mentioned under the Act unless otherwise allowed by the custom governing the parties to the marriage.
     

A marriage between parties where any of the above-mentioned conditions are not fulfilled stands null and void under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. For the Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs marrying within these communities, marrying under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 is an alternative to marrying under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

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The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872

The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872, provides for provisions for solemnization and registration of all Christian marriages. Section 4 of the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 states that apart from Christian-Christian marriages, the marriage between a Christian and a non-Christian can also be solemnized and registered under this Act.

The other conditions for a marriage between two parties to take place is the same as mentioned under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1954 i.e. there must be a free consent of both the parties to the marriage, both the parties must have completed the legal age to marry and neither party must have a spouse living at the time of the marriage.
 

Registration of Marriage:

The performance of marriage registration is dealt with in Part IV of the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872. The parties to a marriage are required to make an application for the registration of the marriage between the parties to the concerned authority in whose jurisdiction either of the parties to the marriage has been residing.

Apart from what has already been stated as a normal procedure to be followed in order to legally marry, the following procedure is to be followed if two parties are marrying under this Act:

  • The marriage is registered by the registrar who is present and performs the marriage of the couple.

  • An acknowledgment slip of the registration of marriage is then signed by both the parties to the marriage and the witnesses to the marriage and is attached with the register as proof of registration of the marriage. These acknowledgment slips are then sent to the Registrar General of births, deaths, and marriages at the end of the month.

  • Marriage under the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 can also be endorsed under special provisions without prior notice in cases where required.
     

Documents Required:

The documents required to be submitted are:

  1. Application Form filled by the parties to the marriage,

  2. Passport-size photographs of the parties,

  3. Certificate of Marriage issued by the Minister or the Priest whosoever performed and solemnized the marriage,

  4. Address and age proof of the parties,

  5. An affidavit of mental capacity and marital status of both the parties to the marriage.
     

Notice of intended marriage:

If both parties to the marriage reside in the same area, either party will have to inform the Minister of Religion of their intention to marry through a notice. And if both the parties to the marriage reside in different areas, each party will have to make a separate notice in writing to the Marriage Registrar within the area of their residence.

The notice that has to be sent must contain important details like:

  • If any of the party is minor: In a case where any party to the marriage is a minor i.e. he/she has not attained the legal age to marry, the father, if alive, of the minor, or, if the father is not alive, the guardian of the minor, and in case there is no guardian too, then the mother of the minor, may give assent to the minor’s marriage with the other party and such a consent is required for a marriage under this case, unless there is no person authorized to give such consent resides in India. 

  • A certificate in fulfillment of the notice to solemnize the marriage is then issued by the Minister.

  • Persons authorized to solemnize the marriage: As mentioned under Section 5 of the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872, the following people are competent to solemnize a marriage under this Act:
     

  1. A Clergyman of the Church of Scotland in the case when the ceremonies of marriage are performed according to that prevalent in the Church of Scotland,

  2. A Minister of Religion who is licensed to solemnize a marriage under this Act,

  3. In the presence of a Marriage Registrar or any other person on his behalf appointed by him according to the provisions of this Act,

  4. An individual who has procured a license under this Act to grant certificates of marriage between Indians and Christians.
     

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Registration of marriages under other laws

A marriage between two parties of a Parsi community can be registered under the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936. Similarly, a marriage between two parties of the Muslim community can be registered under the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937. However, a married couple belonging to a Muslim community cannot register their marriage under the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 if they have married under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
 
Getting married is a very big step for couples, and one of the most important things a married couple can do is to lawfully register their marriage. A registered marriage legally binds the married couple to each other and helps them with other legal re-courses in their life such as getting a passport made, getting a visa or changing the maiden name, etc.



 

These guides are not legal advice, nor a substitute for a lawyer
These articles are provided freely as general guides. While we do our best to make sure these guides are helpful, we do not give any guarantee that they are accurate or appropriate to your situation, or take any responsibility for any loss their use might cause you. Do not rely on information provided here without seeking experienced legal advice first. If in doubt, please always consult a lawyer.


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