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Rules Regarding Marriage Certificate & Registration in India

Marriage Certificate

How to Apply For Marriage Certificate and Registration?

A popular saying around the world is such that marriages are made in heaven and it is apparent that they are solemnized on the Earth! In this post, we will talk regarding marriage certificate and registration process in India.

The society, following the rituals and customs, of the land and religion, brings stability to the bond. But, in the present times of complexity, the legal standing of marriage is also important. So to say, the bond created by customs and rituals requires being sealed with law of the land. The need though not seen first but is required on multiple occasions that arise later in the stage example during travel to another country for visa and passports or during future legal battles, in any arise. This aspect is usually forgotten by the couples and families while staying engaged in the pomp and show of the wedding.

In 2006, upon a transfer petition of one Smt. Seema, in the Supreme Court, a bench of Arijit Pasayat& S.H. Kapadia noted that in a large number of cases some unprincipled persons are denying the very existence of marriage solemnization, thus taking advantage of the situation that in most of the states is no provision of official records of the marriage. It was the standout National Commission for women that it has since its inception, it has supported the proposal for legislation on compulsory registration of marriages.

Such a law would be of critical importance to various women related issues like:

  1. Prevention of marriages without the consent of the parties
  2. Check illegal bigamy/polygamy
  3. Checking the men from deserting women after marriage
  4. Enabling married women to claim their right to live in the matrimonial house, maintenance, child custody etc.
  5. Enabling windows to have a claim for inheritance and rights which they become entitled to after the death of their husband
  6. Prevention of child marriages so as to ensure the minimum age of marriage as set by the government is adhered to
  7. Deterring parents/guardians from selling daughters/young girls to any person including a foreigner, under the garb of marriage

It was also pointed out that though, the registration itself cannot be proof of a valid marriage and would not be the determining factor regarding the validity of a marriage, yet it shall have a great evidentiary value in the matters of custody of children, right of children, and the age of parties to the marriage. Hence, it would be in the interest of the society if marriages are made compulsorily registrable. It was then directed to the States and the Central Government to take the steps for the compulsory registration of marriage.

Upon the request of the Department of Legal Affairs in line with the earlier recommendations, The Law Commission of India, studied the matter in detail and in July 2017 came up with its Report no. 270 titled ‘COMPULSORY REGISTRATION OF MARRIAGE’. The commission recommended the amendment of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 for the purpose of registration and was of the opinion that compulsory registration of marriages shall be the betterment of the existing laws. Further, for this purpose, the Commission recommended going digital and paperless the as much extent as possible.

Till date, there is no uniform framework in the country for the compulsory registration of Marriage Certificate due to the diversity of the cultures and customs. Yet due to people becoming more aware, the trend of getting the marriage registered with the competent authority has been on a rise. The setback faces it due to the complexity attached to the procedures of the office of the registrar.

The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

A marriage which has already been solemnized according to the customs and traditions may be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act. The Hindu Marriage Act is applicable where both wife and the husband are either Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs or have legally converted into any of these.

A marriage may be solemnized under this act if the conditions as per Section 5 of the said Act are fulfilled-

  1. neither party should have a living spouse at the time of the marriage;
  2. the bridegroom has completed the age of 21 years and the bride completed the age of 18 years at the time of the marriage
  3. at the time of the marriage, neither party
    • has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity
    • is incapable of giving a valid consent to it due to unsoundness of mind, or
    • has been suffering from such a mental disorder to have become unfit for marriage as also for the procreation of children
  4. the parties must not be within the degrees of prohibited relationship or be sapindas to each other unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two
  5. To get the marriage registered, the parties have to apply to the Sub Divisional Magistrate under whose jurisdiction either the marriage took place or where either of the spouses has stayed for at least of 6 months before the marriage.

Documents Required

  1. Application form duly signed by both husband and wife.
  2. Ration card of husband or wife for the area who’s SDM has been approached for the certificate.
  3. Documentary evidence of the date of birth for the age of parties (Passport/10th Certificate/Birth Certificate)
  4. If marriage was solemnized in a religious place or a place of worship, then a certificate from the priest who solemnized the marriage is required.
  5. Rs. 100/- as a fee to be deposited and the receipt must be attached with the application form.
  6. An affidavit that the parties are not within the prohibited degree of relationship or said as per The Hindu Marriage Act.
  7. Certified and Attested copy of divorce decree in case of a divorcee
  8. Death certificate of the deceased spouse in case of widow/widower.
  9. In case one of the parties belonged to other than Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, a conversion certificate is required.
  10. Two passport size photographs of the parties to the marriage
  11. One marriage photograph
  12. Marriage invitation card, if available.

All documents being submitted must be attested by a Gazetted Officer.

  • The verification of all the documents is then proceeded with on the date of application and further, a date is fixed and communicated to the parties. On the said day, both parties, along with 2 witnesses, need to be present before the said SDM. The registration is then completed and the Certificate is issued.

The Special Marriage Act, 1954

Where either or both the wife and the husband, are not Hindus, Jain, Sikh or Buddhists, the marriage may be registered under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

For a marriage to be solemnized under this act, following conditions, similar to the Hindu Marriage Act, may be fulfilled:

  1. neither party must have a spouse living t the time of marriage;
  2. the male has completed the age of 21 years and the female the age of 18 years
  3. neither party
    • has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity
    • is incapable of giving a valid consent to it due to unsoundness of mind, or
    • has been suffering from such a mental disorder to have become unfit for marriage as also for the procreation of children
  4. the parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship (except for customs)

The Act authorizes the SDMs/ADMs/Deputy Commissioners as Marriage Officers for the purpose of registration. When a Marriage Certificate is intended to be solemnized under this Act, the parties to the marriage need to give notice of it in writing in a specified format to the Marriage Officer of the district in which at least one of the parties to the marriage has resided for a period of not less than 30 days immediately prior to the date of such notice. The Marriage Officer will then get the notice published by affixing a copy in a clear and noticeable place in his office premises. Objections may be raised by any person within 30 days of the date of notice and the marriage Officer shall inquire into the same. After the expiration of 30 days from the notice, if no objections have come forth, the marriage may be solemnized.

The marriage shall be solemnized at the office of the Marriage Officer or at any other place as the parties may desire. It may be solemnized in any form which the parties the parties choose, essentially with three witnesses and the Marriage Officer present.

After the marriage has been duly solemnized, the Marriage Officer shall get the certificate signed by the parties to the marriage along with the three witnesses and enter it in the official record. The certificate may be provided to the parties upon prescribed fee.

Marriage solemnized in any other manner may also be registered under this Act with the same process as affixing the notice in a conspicuous place and upon no objections raised within 30 days, Register the marriage in official records and supply the certificate upon submission of prescribed fee.

Documents Required

On the day of the solemnization, 3 witnesses with their identity proofs are required plus the following documents:

  1. Application form/ notice duly filled and signed by the bride and the groom.
  2. A fee as decided by the state to be deposited and the receipt should be attached with the form.
  3. Documentary evidence of the date of birth of both the parties (Passport/10th Certificate/Birth Certificate).
  4. Any documentary evidence of one of the parties staying in the jurisdiction for more than 30 days.
  5. Separate affidavits from the bride and groom giving:
    • Date of birth.
    • Present marital status: unmarried/widower/ divorcee.
    • A statement that the parties are not within the degree of prohibited relationship as defined in the Special Marriage Act.
  6. Passport size photographs of parties to Marriage Certificate attested by a Gazetted Officer.
  7. Copy of divorce decree/order in case of a divorcee
  8. Copy of death certificate of spouse in case of widow/widower.

The registration is completed after30 days from the date of the notice. The objection, if received, are decided by the SDM expeditiously.

Christian Marriages

When any Marriage Certificate between 2 Indian Christians is solemnized by any person authorized under the act: Clergyman or Minister of Religion,the person solemnizing shall, register the marriage in a separate register-book, and shall keep it safely until it is filled with the appropriate authority, that being the Marriage Registrar of the district, or, if there be more Marriage Registrars then the Sr. Marriage Registrar, who would then send it to the Registrar General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages to be entered in the official records.

When the parties require the marriage to be solemnized by the Marriage Registrar, or in his presence, they must give a notice in writing, in the prescribed format to any Marriage Registrar of the district wherein the parties have dwelt (or if the parties dwell in different districts, shall give the notice to a Marriage Registrar of each of the district)

The notice shall state the following:

  1. Name and surname of the parties
  2. Age of the parties
  3. The mental condition of both the parties
  4. The profession of both the parties
  5. the dwelling-place of both the parties
  6. the place at which the marriage is to be solemnized
  7. the time during which each has dwelt in the particular district

Every Marriage Registrar must make a copy to be affixed in some clear and noticeable place in his office premises.

If the parties request the Marriage Registrar to issue the certificate and if no lawful impediment is seen as to why such a certificate cannot be issued, the Marriage Registrar shall issue under a certificate under his designation.

Also, a marriage which has already been solemnized by a priest in the church can also be registered by a Marriage Certificate. The parties to the registration of Marriage Certificate have to apply to the said authority in whose Jurisdiction either party has been residing. It may be applied with the application form as per the format attached with two photographs of the marriage ceremonies, invitation card of marriage, affidavit of marital status at the time of marriage, age and address proof of both parties, mental condition of the parties, individual passport size photographs and the marriage certificate issued by the priest.

The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936

This Act governs the marriages between Parsi individuals:

  1. Requisites to the validity of Parsi marriages are
    • The contracting parties, i.e; the parties to the marriage must not be related to each other in any of the degrees of affinity or consanguinity as per the Act and also the customs.
    • The marriage has to be solemnized as per the Paris form of ceremony popularly known to be “Ashirvad” by a priest in the presence of two Parsi witnesses excluding the priest
    • The bridegroom must be of 21 years of age and bride of 18 years.
  2. Every marriage under this Act shall immediately upon solemnization be certified by the officiating priest as per the format provided in the Act. The certificate would then be signed by the officiating priest, parties to the marriage and two Parsi witnesses present at the marriage. The priest then has to send the certificate with the prescribed fee paid by the parties to the Registrar of the place at which such marriage is solemnized. The Registrar on receipt of the Marriage Certificate and fee would enter the certificate in the official record.

Muslim Marriages

Muslim marriages are governed by their own uncodified laws. Nikah is a civil contract between the parties and need not be registered with the law. The Muslims thus have the option of:

  1. Obtaining a Nikahnama from the Kazi, officiating the marriage or,
  2. Solemnize and/or register under the Special Marriage Act or,
  3. Obtaining a certificate as per the State rules of marriage registration if the marriage has already been solemnized and the state where the parties reside have specific rules of the same.

The Marriage Certificate process thus remains the same as for the others and is highly encouraged.

Narendra Kumar

Experienced Finance and Legal Professional with 12+ Years of Experience in Legal, Finance, Fintech, Blockchain, and Revenue Management.

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