Marriage Registration in India.
By Sukhmani Singh, Army Institute of Law, Mohali
Marriage is a very important institution of our society. The evolution of this institution was slow and steady. In the beginning, paternity was unknown because of promiscuity in the society. This led to unknown parentage and restricted the right of the father to transfer his property to his own blood. With the view of determining paternity, marriage came into existence. Hence came concepts like polygamy, polyandry, monogamy and so on. As this institution has evolved, in this current time, there have been some unwelcome changes in the society. These changes have impacted the holy institute of matrimony. Live in relationships are pretty common these days. One major negative aspect of such a relationship is that the parties to such an arrangement do not have any legal rights.
In the case Seema Vs Ashwin, registration of marriages became compulsory. There are 3 basic reasons for promoting registration of marriage. They are:
1) Preventing Bigamy
2) Preventing Child Marriages
3) To stop men from deserting their wives
Marriages can be registered according to the Hindu Marriage Act and Special Marriage Act. Registration of marriages is actually quite simple!
REGISTRATION FOR MARRIAGES UNDER HINDU MARRIAGE ACT
Pre – Process requirements:
- Address proof: passport, driving license, gas bill, ration card, voter ID
- Proof of residence must be from the city in which the marriage is being registered.
- Application of marriage form filled.
- Five photographs of the couple in size 2B. Joint photo of bride and groom with signatures over such photo.
No fees is required for registration but, Rs. 5 is to be paid for the application. Fee for certified copy is Rs. 10. Some registrars want to look at your wedding invitation, so do not forget to bring that along with you as well!
Once the application has been submitted and the documents verified , the concerned officer will assign a date for registration, when the marriage certificate will be issued . The people who have converted to Hinduism also come under the purview of the Act, but will have to provide a certificate of conversion from the priest who solemnised the marriage, along with relevant documents.
Application for marriage filled in the prescribed form with:
- Name and Address of bridegroom and bride
- Signature of bride and bridegroom,
- Signature of 3 attesting witnesses present at the time of marriage along with their name and address,
- Joint photo of bride and bridegroom with a signature over each photo should be presented to the Registrar of Marriage.
Marriage officer will verify the contents of the application and records. He will issue a Certificate of Marriage if he is satisfied that the records produced are in accordance with the law.
Expect to hear back from the authorities within 15 days of submitting your application for marriage conducted under the Hindu Marriage Act.
REGISTRATION FOR MARRIAGES UNDER SPECIAL MARRIAGE ACT
Pre – Process requirements:
In case you are planning to apply for a certificate post/prior to your marriage, here are some points to be noted carefully for solemnising the same:
A. The parties cannot be married to anyone else, without a proper legal termination of that marriage having taken place.
B. Any one of the parties cannot be of unsound mind and incapable of giving voluntary consent to the marriage.
C. Any one of the parties can be capable of giving voluntary consent, but of unsound mind and incapable of bearing children due to the same. Those of unsound mind cannot be eligible for solemnising a marriage.
D. Those who are within the criteria of prohibited relationships are also ineligible, unless they can marry with permission according to the usage of customs or usage governing them.
- Application form duly filled and signed by the bride and the groom.
- Fee of Rs.15/- is to be deposited with cashier of District and the receipt should be attached with the form.
- Documentary evidence of date of birth of both parties (Matriculation Certificate/Passport/Birth Certificate).
- Documentary evidence regarding stay in Delhi of one of the parties for more than 30 days (ration card or report from the concerned SHO).
- Separate affidavits from bride and groom giving:
- Date of birth.
- Present marital status: unmarried/widower/ divorcee.
- Affirmation that the parties are not related to each other within the degree of prohibited relationship defined in the Special Marriage Act.
- Passport size photographs of both parties (2 copies each) duly attested by a Gazetted Officer.
- Copy of divorce decree/order in case of a divorcee and death certificate of spouse in case of widow/widower.
Expect a reply from the authorities within a period of 60 days.
FOR ELOPING COUPLES
Good news for you eloping couple is that eloping is NOT illegal. Make sure the both of you are of legal age and do get your marriage registered in accordance with Hindu Marriage Act or Special Marriage Act, whichever you get married under. When the marriage is valid, the law and the police will help you. Tough pressure from the family and community causes a lot of problems but, if your marriage is valid and all requirements have been fulfilled, it would help in smoothing out the situation over a period of time. Please remember, just because your marriage is valid in the eyes of the law does not mean that you have your family’s blessings. My recommendation would be to keep the option of eloping a last resort. The process for registration of marriages has been mentioned above.
LEGALITY OF AN INTER CASTE/ INTER RELIGION MARRIAGE DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU ARE TOTALLY SAFE. Read this too
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