Registration Of Marriage Only Prima Facie Evidence Of Marriage and not Certification Of Its Validity; Rules Kerala High Court

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An Indian citizen belonging to the Hindu Community solemnized a marriage with a Filipina citizen as per the local customs of the Indian after the latter converted to Hinduism. The marriage registrar refused to register the said marriage for he had a doubt regarding the validity of the marriage in accordance with the Hindu Marriage Act despite a self declaration from the couple.

A Writ Petition was filed by the couple in regards to the aforementioned matter in the Hon’ble Kerala High Court which was adjudicated by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque.

Relying upon the Apex Court judgement in “Perumal Nadar (dead) by Legal Representative v. Ponnuswami Nadar (minor)978 KHC 429 the High Court ruled:
“There is no formal ceremony of expiation necessary to effectuate a conversion to Hinduism. In the absence of any particular mode prescribed for conversion as a Hindu, without there being any mala fides that can be pointed out, the public authority cannot refuse to act upon such request.
 
Registrar is only duty bound to conduct the summary enquiry as to the legality of the marriage…the very purpose of registration of marriage is only to give a prima facie indication to accord evidence of marriage and not validity of such marriage.”
The court further added that registrar is not the competent authority to decide on the competency to marry or validity of a marriage. He is required to have a prima facie view that the marriage has taken place in accordance with the personal law applicable to the parties.
He need not conduct further enquiry to the fact whether conversion to Hinduism or other religion is valid or not because acceptance or acknowledgment into a community in India is understood based on the social interactions of a person.
However the determination of the validity of marriage is still open for consideration by the court concerned in appropriate stage if any dispute arises in such marriage.
Therefore the court, while allowing the writ petition, directed the registrar to register the marriage.
Read the full judgement here.