This article on ‘Marriage Registration Laws in India: All You Should Know’ was written by an intern at Legal Upanishad.
Marriage is a sacred union, a bond believed to endure until death. In India, weddings are elaborate affairs, celebrated with grandeur and enthusiasm. Amidst the festivities and preparations, it is crucial to recognize the legal aspect of marriage by obtaining a marriage registration. A marriage certificate serves as legal proof of the union and is essential for various purposes, such as property transactions, obtaining a spouse visa, insurance claims, and separation proceedings. This article delves into the comprehensive details of marriage registration laws in India, covering the step-by-step procedures, eligibility criteria, and required documentation.
Legal Framework for Marriage Registration
Marriages in India can be registered under two main acts:
- Hindu Marriage Act, 1955: Applicable to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists.
- Special Marriage Act, 1954: Applicable to all citizens of India, regardless of their religion.
In 2006, the Honorable Supreme Court of India made marriage registration mandatory to validate the marital union. This legal requirement ensures that couples’ rights and obligations are protected by law.
Online Registration for a Marriage Certificate
Online registration for a marriage certificate is a convenient option, saving time and reducing hassles. It eliminates the need for lengthy queues and minimizes physical interactions with marriage registrars, making it especially suitable in an era of social distancing. Here are the steps for online registration:
- Visit the official website of your home state: The process starts by accessing the government’s official website of the state where either of the spouses resides.
- Find the marriage registration form: Navigate through the website to locate the marriage registration form. It is essential to use the official form provided on the government’s website.
- Fill in personal details: Complete the form by providing the personal details of both parties involved in the marriage, as specified in the form.
- Submit the form: Once the form is filled out accurately, submit it through the online portal.
After submitting the form, the marriage registrar will schedule an appointment for the couple. It is mandatory for both parties to attend the appointment and present all required documents. Additionally, two witnesses from each side of the marriage should also be present at the registrar’s office during the appointment.
Under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the marriage registrar typically schedules the appointment within 15-30 days of form submission. In contrast, under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, the waiting period is approximately 60 days.
Offline Registration for a Marriage Certificate
Under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
For offline registration under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the following steps should be followed:
- Visit the sub-registrar’s office: Visit the office of the sub-registrar under whose jurisdiction the marriage was solemnized. Alternatively, if either of the spouses has been residing in a specific jurisdiction for over six months, they can register the marriage there.
- Fill out the application manually: Complete the application form manually, ensuring that both parties sign it. Attach the required documents as outlined in the next section.
- Waiting period: After submitting the application, there is typically a waiting period of 30 days during which objections can be raised. If no objections are received, the marriage will be registered.
Under the Special Marriage Act, 1954
Under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, the process is as follows:
- Notice of marriage: The couple must provide a 30-day notice to the sub-registrar under whose jurisdiction either of the partners resides. During this period, a notice is displayed on the registrar’s notice board.
- Objection period: If no objections are raised within the 30-day notice period, the marriage is registered.
This process allows the marriage to be completed without any religious ceremony, making it a viable alternative for those who are not eligible to register their marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act.
Where to Register a Marriage in India?
Marriage registration in India can be done through both online and offline methods. Here’s how:
For online registration, follow these steps:
- Visit the official state website: Go to the official website of the state where the marriage was solemnized or where either spouse has been residing for more than six months.
- Fill out the online form: Complete the marriage registration form available on the website.
- Attend an appointment: After submitting the form online, the registrar will schedule an appointment to verify the documents and witnesses.
For offline registration:
- Visit the sub-registrar’s office: Go to the sub-registrar’s office where the marriage was solemnized or where either spouse has been residing for over six months.
- Fill out the application manually: Complete the application form manually, ensuring both parties sign it.
- Waiting period: Wait for 30 days, and if no objections are raised, the marriage will be registered.
It’s important to note that marriages registered under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, require the presence of a marriage officer and a 30-day notice period.
The documents required for marriage registration may vary slightly from one state to another. However, most requirements remain consistent. All documents should be duly signed by a gazetted officer at the time of submission. The standard documents include:
- Application form: A form signed by both parties (husband and wife).
- Proof of birth: Matriculation certificate, birth certificate, or passport. The male must be at least 21 years old, and the female must be at least 18 years old. This age requirement applies to both the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
- Residential proof: Election Voter ID, PAN Card, Aadhar Card, Ration Card, or electricity bill for both parties.
- Marriage solemnization certificate: If the marriage took place at a religious institution, a certificate from the institution is required.
- Fees: Rs 100 for marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and Rs 150 for marriages under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, to be paid to the district cashier. Attach the payment receipt to the application form.
- Passport-sized photos: Two photos of both parties, as well as one marriage photo if the marriage has already been solemnized.
- Wedding invitation card: If applicable, provide the wedding invitation card.
- Affirmation of no prohibited relationship: Both parties must affirm that they are not closely related, as per the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, or the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
- Divorce decree: If either party is divorced, attach an attested copy of the divorce decree.
- Death certificate: If either party is a widow or widower, include the death certificate of the deceased spouse.
- Affidavit: Attach an affidavit stating the place, date, and time of marriage, marital status, and nationality of both parties.
- Witnesses: Two witnesses from both sides should be present at the sub-registrar’s office during the meeting. In the case of solemnized marriages, the witnesses who attended the wedding should also be present.
Marriage registration in India is a legal requirement that ensures the rights and responsibilities of couples are protected under the law. Whether you choose online or offline registration, it’s essential to follow the prescribed procedures and provide the necessary documents. A marriage certificate not only validates the union but also facilitates various aspects of married life, from property transactions to legal separation. Understanding the marriage registration laws in India is essential for anyone embarking on this sacred journey, ensuring that your marriage is legally recognized and protected.
List of References
- ‘Everything You Want to Know About Marriage Registration Laws in India’, iPleaders Blog, 16 December 2016, available at: https://blog.ipleaders.in/marriage-registration-laws-india/
- ‘How to get marriage registered: Steps to undergo legal procedure’, India Today, 23 January 2019, available at: https://www.indiatoday.in/information/story/how-to-get-marriage-registered-steps-to-undergo-legal-procedure-1437455-2019-01-23
- ‘Marriage Registration in India -Step by Step Guide’, India Fillings, 10 September 2021, available at: https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/marriage-registration-in-india-step-by-step-guide/#:~:text=A%20marriage%20certificate%20is%20a%20document%20that%20declares%20two%20people,marriage%20registered%20to%20legalize%20it.