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Overview of Marriage Registration

Marriages are considered a sacred bond between two people and it is important to get the marriage registered. Due to India’s feature of secularism, there are people of different religions and different personal laws relating to marriage. People who wish to get their marriage registered can apply for registration under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, for Hindus and others can apply under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. A person to be legally competent for marriage should have a minimum age of 18 years for females and 21 years for males. In India, there are two ways in which a marriage can be registered – online and offline.

A Marriage certificate is an important document for validating one’s marriage in India. Registration for marriage is an easy process. A marriage certificate is helpful for applying for a passport or for the purchase of property, etc. A certificate is a proof that 2 people are legally married to each other. Registering for marriage is a must to secure the future of both partners.

Significance of Marriage Certificate

A certificate of marriage is a document which establishes the marital status of a couple. It is a reliable document which proves a legal marriage. The certificate is useful for the purposes such as the opening of a bank account, applying for a visa or a passport, or an income certificate, at the time of divorce, changing the female’s name or claiming insurance money or assets.

Main aim of a Marriage Certificate

One of the important purposes for the registration of marriage is that it gives both parties to marriage equal rights. With the help of provisions concerning the age of parties, it restricts child marriage and removes the occurrence of fraud marriage cases.

The two ways in which a marriage can be registered and a certificate of marriage can be obtained are defined below:

Online Marriage Registration

Due to advanced technology and technical assistance, many services are being provided online. It removes the problem of people who stand in long queues and visit the marriage registration office several times for different work. A person who wishes to get his/her marriage registered can visit the website and fill out the form online instead of visiting the office several times. The below-mentioned steps are required to be fulfilled for online marriage registration. These are:

  • The very first step is to visit the respective state’s official website
  • Select and click on the online marriage registration option
  • The person is required to fill in all the necessary details of both the spouses
  • After all the details have been filed, the form should be duly submitted.
  • After verifying all the details, the registrar of marriage will inform the parties to visit the office at a prescribed date and time.
  • For successful registration, it is important to carry all the necessary documents for offline verification along with the required number of witnesses.

Offline Marriage Registration

Offline marriage registration is done under two Acts, namely:

  • The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955
  • The Special Marriage Act of 1954

Marriage Registration under the Hindu Marriage Act

For Hindus, Jains, Sikhs or people belonging to the Buddhist community, the Hindu Marriage Act is applicable for the purposes of marriage. It is only applicable when both the parties to the marriage are from Hindu, Jain, Sikh or Buddhist communities or to people who have converted their religion to any of the stated religions.

Registration procedure under the Hindu Marriage Act

After the marriage has been solemnized with the fulfilment of all the Hindu customs and prevailing provisions established under the law, the parties to a marriage have to apply for registration of marriage at the Marriage Registrar’s office or Tehsildar of the district where the marriage has been solemnized or where either party to the marriage resides. There are several points which are required to be kept in mind while registering a marriage. These are as follows:

  1. The registration of marriage should be made within a time period of 1 month from the date of marriage.
  2. Serving a notice is not required under the Hindu marriage registration process.
  3. The parties to a marriage are required to fill out the form for registration.
  4. There are several documents which are required to be submitted:
  • Two photographs of the marriage ceremony
  • Wedding Invitation card
  • One ID proof
  • Address of the parties
  • Date of birth of both the parties
  • An affidavit of self-declaration duly notarized.
  • Guardians or parents of both parties must be present.
  • Signature of both parties in the presence of 3 witnesses.

A marriage certificate is issued once the registration process is completed after proper scrutiny.

There are certain mandatory requirements to be fulfilled by the parties who wish to marry each other under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955. The conditions have been defined under Sections 5 and 7 of the Act to make a marriage valid and legal. As per the provision defined under Section 5 of the Act, a marriage is said to be a valid marriage only if both parties are Hindus. Marriage is not considered legal and valid if either of the party to the marriage is not Hindu.

A valid marriage is one which fulfils the below-mentioned conditions:

  1. Neither of the party must be already married and have a spouse living at the time of marriage.
  2. None of the parties to the marriage must be of unsound mind or incapable of giving free consent.
  3. Even if the person is able to give valid consent, he/she must not suffer from any sort of disorder or must not be legally unfit for marriage or for the creation of a child.
  4. None of the parties must be subject to any recurrent attacks of epilepsy or insanity
  5. The bride must have completed the age of 18 years and 21 years for the groom at the time of marriage.
  6. The parties should not come under the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the prevailing customs permit the marriage between two people who come under the degrees of prohibited relationship.
  7. The parties should not come under the sapinda relationship unless the customs of the parties allow so.

What is the Degree of Prohibited Relationship?

The parties are considered as people who are covered under the degrees of prohibited relationship:

  • If any of them is a lineal descendant of the other person, or
  • If any of them was the wife or a husband of a lineal ascendant or descendant of the other person, or
  • If any of them was the wife of the brother, or the father’s or mother’s brother or the grandfather’s or grandmother’s brother of the other person, or
  • If both of the parties willing to get married were brother and sister, aunt and nephew, uncle and niece, or children of brother and sister or two brothers or two sisters.

Parties who marry and fall under the above-mentioned categories are considered as having a void marriage.

Usually, there are certain exceptions to the provisions stated. An exception to the provision stated under Section 5 of the Act is – that customs also play a crucial role in personal matters. If there exists a custom where the parties falling under the degree of prohibited relationship are not restricted from getting married, their marriage will be considered legal and valid.

Punishment under the Act

The provisions of the Act consider marriage to be void and null who fall under the category degrees of a prohibited relationship. The parties tosuch marriage are punishable with imprisonment of simple nature for a month or a fine of Rs. 10000/- or both.

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Marriage Registration under the Special Marriage Act, 1954

Any person irrespective of religion, who wishes to get his/her marriage solemnized and registered in India, can follow the provisions of The Special Marriage Act. As per the provisions of the Act, the marriage solemnized is defined a “Court Marriage”. A notice should be given to the respective marriage officer in whose jurisdiction any of the parties has resided. The time period for which the notice is put up is 30 days, for receiving objections to the solemnization of such marriage if any.

Procedure for Registration of Special Marriage

  1. The copy of the notice defined above must be affixed on the notice board of the registration office and another copy of such notice has to be sent to the marriage officer having jurisdiction of the area where any of the party presently resides or has a permanent address for publication.
  2. After the expiry of the time period of 30 days from publication of the notice, if no person raises any objection, the parties are allowed to solemnize their marriage.
  3. If any person raises any objections with regard to the notice sent, then In case of objection, then the marriage officer is required to conduct an inquiry. If the marriage officer does not consider the objection valid after the inquiry, he/she shall allow the parties to solemnize their marriage.
  4. On the day of solemnization of the marriage, there shall be 3 witnesses and the documents should be verified at the same time to receive the marriage certificate. The basic documents include:
  • Age proof of both the parties
  • Address of both parties
  • Affidavit
  • Marital status of the parties
  • Fit mental condition so that both parties are capable of giving free consent
  • Parties should not fall under the degree of prohibited relationship
  • Passport-size photographs of the parties
  • Three witnesses during the marriage solemnization.
  1. After the verification has been done, the couple can apply for getting their marriage registered and a marriage certificate from the Registrar. As per the Special Marriage Act, no religious ceremonies are required to be performed for a marriage to be completed.

Conditions under Section 4

There are defined conditions for a marriage to be considered legal are as follows:

  • None of the parties must be having a living spouse at the time of marriage.
  • Bothparties must be mentally and physically capable.
  • The female must have completed the minimum age of 18 years and the male should complete the age of 21 years.
  • The parties should not fall under the degree of prohibited relationship unless their customs allow people to solemnize such marriage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bigamy is an illegal act where a person already married as per the provisions of The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 solemnizes second marriage without taking divorce from the first spouse living at that time.

As per the Muslim law, a Muslim man can have 4 wives at a time.

Registration of marriage helps in taking joint loans, the opening of bank account, buying joint property, etc.

Marriage registration is important as it saves a lot of people to become victims of marriage fraud and restricts the conduction of illegal marriages.

Yes, it is mandatory for a couple to register their marriage.

The time period of 30 days is given.

The term prohibited relationship has been defined under Section 3(g) of the Hindu Marriage Act.

Yes, a marriage can be registered in both, online and offline modes.

The minimum age for the female is 18 years and for males is 21 years.

In India, a couple who intends to get their marriage registered can register under the Special Marriage Act.

Yes, an NRI who marries an Indian individual can register a valid marriage under the Special Marriage Act

It takes approximately 15-30 days for people to receive their certificate of marriage.

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