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How To Register A Marriage In India

by Saanvi Chandra, 13th March 2017

An Indian marriage certificate is an official statement and recognition from the Government of India that two people are married. A marriage certificate is taken to be a legal proof that you are married to your spouse. It is a critical document which you will need to preserve well for the rest of your life.

The Supreme Court of India made it compulsory to register marriages in the country in a 2006 ruling – for the security of women and protection of their rights.

Registering a marriage is usually done in addition to solemnizing a marriage as per one's religious customs and rituals. Unfortunately, ignorance causes many couples in India to fail to register their marriage. Such couples fail to understand how important a marriage certificate is from a legal point of view.

How To Register A Marriage In India
Courtesy: Mrs. Ruby Lalit Kolhe

What You Should Know About The Indian Marriage Certificate

• A marriage in India is considered legal only if the male is 21 years of age or older, and the female 18 years of age or older.

• In India, you can register your marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

• The Hindu Marriage Act allows for the registration of a marriage that has already been solemnized as per religious customers and rituals. There is no need for the marriage to get solemnized in the presence of a Registrar in this case. We discuss this in detail later in the article.

• The Special Marriage Act is different as it requires the marriage to be solemnized in the presence of a Marriage Officer before being registered. We discuss this in detail later in the article.

Why Is It So Important To Register Your Marriage In India?

As previously stated, registration of marriage has been made compulsory by the Supreme Court of India. This has been done to ensure that men cannot deny being married to their wives, years later, just avoid alimony and maintenance, if the marriage was to break down. Registration of a marriage is an important protection that every Indian woman needs.

There are many scenarios where you will be required to provide your Indian marriage certificate including applying for a passport, changing your maiden name or applying for a visa to visit a foreign country such as the United Sates, the UK or Australia. It is the most important proof that shows that you are legally wedded to your spouse.

In the unfortunate event that your partner passes away, the certificate will be required to access their bank account and life insurance policy.

The Hindu Marriage Act

To register your marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, both you and your spouse need to be recognised Hindus. The registration is done after the solemnization of the marriage.

The application process is simple, however it must be completed within one month of your marriage being solemnized. First you need to apply to the sub-registrar under whose area of jurisdiction the marriage was solemnized. Or, you could apply to the registrar of the place where either you or your spouse has been a resident of, for at least 6 months before the marriage.

You will need to fill out the application form and submit it along with various other documents including your identification papers which show your age and address. Additionally, you must provide a certificate from the priest who solemnized your marriage as proof that you are actually married.

You be required to disclose your previous marital status – whether you were previously married, and if so whether you are legally divorced from that marriage.

Photocopies of all your documents must be attested by a gazetted officer. Finally, to complete the registration, you need to deposit a nominal fee of Rs. 100 with a cashier. The receipt should be attached along with the form.

If either you or your spouse has converted to Hinduism, you will be required to provide a certificate of conversion along. Usually, this certificate can be provided by the same priest that has solemnized the marriage.

You will be assigned a date for the registration of the marriage after the submission of the application and the verification of the documents. The marriage certificate will be issued on that day.

Witnesses of the marriage must acompany you to the registrar and they will be asked to show their proof of identity, such as a PAN card, and an address proof such as a driving license.

On average it takes up to 2 weeks to receive the marriage certificate. If you need the marriage registration to be expedited for a special circumstance, such as having to apply for a visa, you can make a special request to the registrar. In most cases, such requests are considered.

In some states, Delhi for example, you have the option of registering your marriage online. You must be a resident of that state to apply. You cannot be a resident of Karnataka and apply via the Delhi marriage registration website.

Documents Required Under The Hindu Marriage Act

• Application form fully filled up and duly signed by the husband and wife.

• Attested photocopy of Proof of Address, which could be a Voter ID, Aadhar Card, Ration Card, Passport or Driving License.

• Attested photocopy of the any valid certificate with Date of Birth.

• Two recent passport sized photographs, and one marriage photograph.

• A special marriage affidavit in the correct format by both husband and wife.

• Marriage invitation card.

Special Marriage Act

The Special Marriage Act covers both the solemnization of the marriage and its registration. It requires most of the documents that are needed under the Hindu Marriage Act (as listed above) except that there is no need to submit a wedding card or a priest’s certificate.

Once you submit your application with the registrar, it will be displayed on an official board at the registrar office and copies will be sent by registered post to the registered addresses of both spouses. If there is no objection from a concerned party, such as the parents or a former partner of either of the spouses, the marriage is registered exactly 30 days after the publication of the notice.

In case there is an objection, an investigation is conducted by the marriage officer, and the marriage is only registered after the outstanding issues are resolved.

The solemnization of the marriage is performed by a marriage officer appointed by the government. A nominal fee of Rs. 150 has to be paid.

Tatkal Marriage Certificate

If you require your marriage certificate within 24 hours, some states now offer a tatkal certificate service. It is however quite expensive - Rs. 10,000. Yes, that is ten thousand rupees. One hundred times the price of submitting your application the regular way.


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