The Supreme Court of India, in 2006, made it mandatory to register all marriages. In India, a marriage can either be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The Hindu Marriage Act applies to Hindus, whereas the Special Marriage Act applies to all citizens of India irrespective of their religion. The Hindu Marriage Act provides for registration of an already solemnized marriage and does not provide for solemnization of a marriage by a Marriage Registrar. However, the Special Marriage Act provides for solemnization of a marriage as well as registration by a Marriage Officer. To be eligible for marriage in India, the minimum age is 21 years for males and 18 years for females. The register marriage process is applicable only for the above-mentioned age for men and women. The register marriage procedure for lovers also remains the same, which we will see in the following blog. Also, we will look into the documents required for marriage certificate and lots more.
Table of Contents
Registration under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
The Hindu Marriage Act is applicable in cases where both husband and wife are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs, or where they have converted into any of these religions. The first step in this marriage registration process is to apply to the sub-registrar under whose jurisdiction the marriage has been solemnized, or either party to the marriage has been residing.
Both partners will need to fill in the Application Form, sign it and submit it along with two photographs of the marriage ceremonies, invitation card of marriage, age and address proof of both parties, affidavit of Notary/Executive Magistrate to prove that the couple is married under Hindu Marriage Act 1955, fit mental condition and proof of non-relationship between the parties within the degree of prohibition.
All the documents should be attested by a Gazetted Officer and the parties will have to deposit a fee with the cashier at the sub-registrar and attach the receipt with the Application Form. Once the application has been submitted and the documents verified, the concerned officer will assign a date of registration when the marriage certificate document will be issued.
Under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, certain conditions have to be fulfilled to consider the marriage between the parties legal and valid. These conditions have been specified under Sec. 5 and sec. 7 of the Act. Under section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, a marriage is considered valid only if both the parties to the marriage are Hindus. If either of the party to the marriage is a Muslim or a Christian, then the marriage will not be a valid Hindu marriage.
A marriage can be solemnized between any two Hindus if the following conditions are fulfilled, namely:
- If neither party has a spouse living at the time of the marriage,
- If neither party is incapable of giving a valid consent to it in the consequence of unsoundness of mind,
- Though capable of giving valid consent, neither of them has been suffering from any mental disorder or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and the procreation of children,
- If neither of them has been subject to recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy.
- The bride has completed the age of 18 years and the bridegroom the age of 21 years at the time of marriage,
- The parties aren’t within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two,
- The parties are not a lineal ascendant of the other (Sapindus) unless the custom or usage governing each of them permits of a marriage between the two.
Degree of prohibited relationship:
Two individuals are said to be covered under the degrees of prohibited relationship –
- If one of them is the lineal ascendant of the other,
- One was the husband or wife of lineal ascendant or descendant of the other,
- If one 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,
- Or if they are brother and sister, aunt and nephew, uncle and niece, or children of brother and sister or of two brothers or two sisters.
A marriage falling within the above categories will be considered void.
Exception: The customs play an important role here i.e. If there is a custom governing the parties, they may marry even if they fall under the degrees of prohibited relationship.
Punishment: A marriage which is solemnized between the parties within the degrees of prohibited relationship is considered null and void.
The parties of such a marriage are liable to be punished with simple imprisonment for one month or a fine of Rs. 10000/- or with both.
Solemnization in Hindu Marriage
The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 deals with ceremonies to be followed in registration of Hindu marriage, by the virtue of Sec. 7. The provision states that a Hindu marriage can be solemnized following customary rites and ceremonies of either of the parties.
A Hindu marriage can be solemnized under the customary rites and ceremonies of either party.
Where the rites and ceremonies include the saptpadi (the taking seven steps by the bride and the groom jointly around the sacred fire), the marriage becomes complete and binding when the seventh step is taken.
These ceremonies may vary according to the customs and traditions followed by the parties.
Special Marriage Act, 1954
The Special Marriage Act applies to all citizens of India. Any person, irrespective of religion can solemnize and register their marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The persons intending to register marriage under this Act have to give notice thereof in writing in specified forms to the concerned marriage officer, in whose jurisdiction at least one of the parties to the marriage has resided for not less than 30 days immediately preceding the date on which notice is given.
A copy of the notice is affixed on the notice board of the registration office and a copy of the notice is sent to the marriage officer of the area where either of the parties having present/permanent addresses for similar publication. After the expiration of one month from the date of publication of the notice, if no objections are received the marriage may be solemnized. In case of objection, the marriage officer conducts an inquiry and the marriage is solemnized after the inquiry concludes.
On the day of solemnization, three witnesses are required plus basic identification documents required for marriage certificate which include proof of age and address of both parties, affidavit concerning these as well marital status, fit mental condition, non-relationship between the parties within the degree of prohibition, passport size photographs and with three witnesses to finally solemnize the marriage. After that, the couple may apply to have their marriage registered and get an official marriage certificate document from the registrar.
The Special Marriage Act deals with both registrations and solemnization of marriage. Under this Act, certain conditions have been laid down under Sec. 4, which are considerably similar to those laid down under Sec. 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1954.
According to this act, no religious ceremonies are a prerequisite for a marriage to be complete.
This Act lays down the following conditions for a marriage to be regarded as a lawful one, having legal standing, by the virtue of Sec. 4:
- Neither of the party should have a spouse living at the time of the marriage
- The physical and mental capacity of both the parties must be as per the section requires.
- The age of the parties i.e. the female has completed the age of eighteen and the male has completed the age of twenty-one.
- The parties aren’t within the degree of prohibited relationship provided that custom governing one of the parties permits such a marriage between them.
A marriage in violation of any of the above conditions will stand null and void under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. For the Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs marrying within these four communities, the Special Marriage Act 1954 is an alternative to the Hindu Marriage Act 1955.
Marriage Registration Online
You can register marriage certificate online, but not in all Indian states. It is unavailable even in larger cities such as Mumbai and Bengaluru but is currently possible in Delhi. A resident of Delhi who wishes to avail of Online Registration of Marriage Certificate option may visit the website: http://edistrict.delhigovt.nic.in/ and comply with the following register marriage procedure:
1. Select the relevant district
2. Fill in the details of the husband
3. Select the ‘Registration of Marriage Certificate’ option
4. Fill in the necessary details required in the Marriage Certificate document
5. Select the desired date of appointment
6. Select the ‘Submit Application’ option
An acknowledgement page will then appear with all the relevant details of your appointment and instructions to be followed. A temporary number will be allotted that will be found printed on the acknowledgement slip. The applicant must print and preserve a copy of the Application form and acknowledgement slip.
Applicants are also required to take a witness along with them to the Sub-registrar for marriage registration. A person who has attended the marriage of the parties can be a witness, provided the said person possesses a PAN Card and proof of residence.
Purpose of Marriage Certificate
A Marriage Certificate is an official statement establishing the marital status of a couple. It is an important document, which one can rely upon to prove that they are legally married to someone, and for various other purposes like obtaining a passport, opening a bank account, changing one’s maiden name, and applying for an income certificate, among other things. A marriage certificate is essentially the legal proof of registration of a marriage.
In India, a marriage can either be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The Hindu Marriage Act applies to Hindus, whereas the Special Marriage Act applies to all citizens of India irrespective of their religion. The Hindu Marriage Act provides for registration of an already solemnized marriage and does not provide for solemnization of a marriage by a Marriage Registrar. However, the Special Marriage Act provides for solemnization of a marriage as well as registration by a Marriage Officer. To be eligible for marriage in India, the minimum age is 21 years for males and 18 years for females.
It is important to understand the register marriage procedure to be followed to get a marriage registered as per law.
Q. Who does one approach for marriage registration?
For the registration of a marriage, one has to approach the office of the Sub Divisional Magistrate under whose jurisdiction the marriage has taken place or where either of the spouses stayed for at least six months before the marriage.
What all Documents required for the marriage registration?
According to the official website of the Delhi Government, the following documents are required to be submitted after being attested by a Gazetted Officer, for obtaining the registration of marriage as per Hindu culture:
- An application form or a Memorandum of marriage duly signed by the husband and wife.
- Documentary evidence for proof of date of birth of both the parties. This age, under both the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act, is 21 years for males and 18 years for the female. This document may be in the form of a matriculation certificate/passport/birth certificate.
- The residence proof of the husband and wife (Ration Card, Aadhar Card, Election Voter Id, PAN Card, or bills like Electricity Bill, etc.)
- Two passport size photographs of both the parties and one marriage photograph.
- Marriage invitation card.
- If the marriage was performed at a religious place, a certificate from the priest is needed to solemnize the marriage.
- In case of marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act Rs. 100, and in case of marriage Special Marriage Act, Rs. 150, is needed to be submitted to the cashier of the district and the receipt is to be attached along with the application form.
- The parties are required to give an affirmation that they are not related and that they do not fall within the degree of prohibited relationship, as laid down under the Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1955.
- An attested copy of the divorce decree/order in case of a divorcee and the death certificate of the spouse in case of a widow/widower.
- If one of the parties belongs to other than Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh religions, a conversion certificate from the priest who solemnized the marriage(in case of Hindu Marriage Act) will be required.
- An affidavit by both the parties stating the place and the date of marriage, date of birth, marital status at the time of marriage and nationality.
Q. How does the registration of marriage take place in case of a Court Marriage?
- An Affidavit has to be attested by the Magistrate/S.D.M. or Notary Public with Register Entry No.
- An application form in the prescribed format.
- Proof of age like Voters ID Card, Driving License or Matriculation Certificate.
- Residence Proof like Voter ID Card, Driving License, Matriculation Certificate, or Passport.
- 7 Passport size photographs of the groom and the bride.
- The PAN Cards and the Residential Proofs of the three witnesses.
- If one of the bride or groom is (are) a divorcee then a Certified copy of Decree of Divorce granted by the Court or
- A death certificate is needed, in case of the death of either of the parties’ last spouse.
- In case one of the partners is a foreigner then, a No Impediment Certificate / NOC from the concerned Embassy and Valid VISA required.
Q. What is the criteria for Marriage Registration?
1. Hindu Marriage Act
After due verification of all the documents that have been submitted by the parties, for the concluding process, a day is fixed for the registration which is communicated to the parties. Both the parties are required to be present on the said day before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, along with the Gazetted Officer who attended their marriage,
After all, the marriage registration process is done, and the SDM is satisfied with the proceedings, the certificate is granted on the same day.
2. Special Marriage Act
For commencing the marriage registration process of marriage registration under this Act, and even before submitting the above-mentioned documents, both parties have to give a 30-day notice to the sub-registrar in whose jurisdiction at least one spouse has resided.
Both parties are required to be present after the submission of the documents for the issuance of public notice inviting objections. One copy of the notice is posted on the notice board of the office and another copy of the notice is sent via registered post to both the parties as per the address was given by them.
The registration is done 30 days after the date of the notice, after deciding any objection that may have been received during the said period by the SDM. Both the parties along with three witnesses are required to be present on the date of registration.
Q. What is the register marriage procedure between an Indian and a foreigner?
There are no laws in India that prohibit an Indian from marrying a foreigner in India.
Undoubtedly, both must be legal of a sound mind and competent enough to marry. The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is applicable where an Indian and a foreigner intend to marry in India. But on the other hand, when an Indian intends to marry in any other country, the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969 is applicable.
Therefore, it can be inferred that a marriage between an Indian and a foreigner is a civil marriage. In such a scenario, first of all, a No Impediment Certificate/NOC from concerned the Embassy and valid VISA is required. All other documents and the procedures to comply with are the same as any other civil marriage performed under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
Q. What is the register marriage procedure of Christian Marriages in India?
Although the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1954 are the two main legislation governing the process of solemnization and registration of marriage in India, there is certain other legislation enacted to oversee the process of marriage solemnization and marriage registration between certain minority religions that are present in India.
For instance, the Christians and the Parsi community –
These minority religions are not covered under either of the two primary legislation but are given equal treatment and hence it was very essential for the Indian legislature to frame laws in this regard.
All Christian marriages in India are governed by the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872, which provides for the solemnization of marriage either by a minister or by a priest of the church.
The Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872
The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872, says that all Christian marriages will be solemnized under its provisions. In addition to that, by the virtue of Sec. 4, it states that, apart from Christian-Christian marriages, the marriage of a Christian with a non-Christian can also be solemnized under this Act.
The over-all conditions are the same as for the other marriages, i.e. the marriage should take place with the free consent of both the parties, bride and bridegroom should be of 18 and 21 years respectively, and neither party can have a spouse living.
Apart from this, the following procedure is to be followed if marriage is performed under this Act:
Notice of intended marriage
If both, bride and groom, reside in the same area, either party will have to notify the Minister of Religion of their intention to marry by the way of a notice. If both the parties reside in different areas, each party has to make a separate notice in writing to the Marriage Registrar located within their areas of residence.
The notice has certain important details like-
- If any of the party is minor: The father, if living, of the minor, or, if the father is dead, the guardian of the minor, and, in case there is no such guardian, then the mother of the minor, may give consent to the minor’s marriage, and such consent is hereby required for the same marriage, unless no person authorized to give such consent be resident in India.
- The Minister then issues a certificate in fulfilment of the notice to solemnize the marriage.
- Persons authorized to solemnize: According to Sec. 5 of the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872, the following people are competent to solemnize a marriage. Marriages solemnized by anyone other than these individuals will stand void-
- A Clergyman of the Church of Scotland, as long as that such marriage be solemnized according to the register marriage rules, rites, customs, and ceremonies of the Church of Scotland,
- A Minister of Religion licensed under this Act to solemnize marriages,
- In the presence of, a Marriage Registrar appointed under this Act or by him.
- An individual licensed under this Act to grant certificates of marriage between Indian Christians.
Performance of marriage
A Christian Marriage is performed between parties to the marriage according to the rituals that are regarded as proper and essential as per a Minister or Priest performing the marriage. The marriage rituals require the presence of two witnesses apart from the minister or the priest performing the marriage.
If a marriage doesn’t get performed within two months after the issuance of the certificate of notice, such a marriage cannot be performed after the lapse of the two months, and then a fresh certificate of notice has to be applied for to solemnize the marriage.
- The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872, under Part IV deals with the marriage registration performed under this Act. The parties are required to make an application for the marriage registration to the concerned authority in whose Jurisdiction either of the party has been residing. The Marriage Register is where the Registrar, who is present and performs the marriage of the couple, registers the marriage.
- An acknowledgement slip of the registration is signed by both the parties to the marriage along with their witnesses and this is attached to the register as proof that the marriage was registered. These acknowledgement slips are sent out at the end of the month to the Registrar General of Births, Deaths, and Marriages.
- Indian Christian marriages may also be endorsed under a special provision without prior notice.
- The complete Application Form
- Passport Size Photographs
- The Marriage Certificate document issued by the Minister of Priest who performed the marriage
- Proof of Residence and Age of the Parties
- An Affidavit certifying the mental and marital status of both parties.
Q. What is the procedure of a Parsi marriage in India?
A Marriage under the Parsi Marriage Act can be registered in the Office of the District Registrar under whose jurisdiction the marriage takes place. The Act considers the marriage unlawful under certain conditions laid down in Sec. 4, that says-
“No Parsi (whether such a Parsi has changed his or her religion or domicile or not) will contract any marriage under this Act or any other law in the lifetime of his or her wife or husband, whether a Parsi or not, except after his or her lawful divorce from such wife or husband or after his or her marriage with such wife or husband has lawfully been declared null and void or dissolved, and, if the marriage was contracted with such wife or husband under the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1865 or under this Act, except after a divorce, declaration or dissolution as aforesaid under either of the said Acts”.
Any marriage performed in contradiction of this provision stands void.
According to this Act:
- A Parsi priest solemnizes the marriage.
- The signatures of both the bride and the bridegroom are required along with signatures of three witnesses to issue a certificate of marriage.
- The certificate needs to be sent to the Marriage Officer for registration along with the prescribed fee.
- The parties mustn’t fall under the ‘Degree of prohibited relationship’ laid down by Sec. 53.
Some Special Laws
Q. What are the Rights of the Second Wife, if she’s Alive?
The marriage registration laws in India have witnessed certain recent developments.
Several issues have also developed in the application of laws regarding the Rights of Second Wife under a Hindu marriage. In the absence of a legal position of the bigamy relationship under the Hindu law or any guidelines in this regard, the situation becomes very depressing and stressful for the women.
When both the women feel cheated by the husband:-
In a scenario like this, it is very important to know that the second marriage is illegal under Hindu law if the first spouse is living. But, it must also be seen that such a relationship that reflects the image of the second wife as a victim who wasn’t aware of her husband’s actions and thus she should not be made to suffer.
Q. What if the marriage is solemnized in the J&K?
If the marriage is solemnized in the state of Jammu & Kashmir [ J&k ], the parties to the marriage are considered to be the Indian citizens-domiciled in the territories to which the Special Marriage Act extends.
The marriage officer is duty-bound to display the notice of the intended marriage, by affixing a copy to some conspicuous place in his office.
Q. What happens if the authorities refuse to solemnize the marriage?
In case the marriage officer refuses to solemnize the proposed marriage between the two parties, then within thirty days of the proposed marriage, either party can appeal to the District Court – inside the local limits of whose jurisdiction the marriage officer has his office.
The decision of the District Court, regarding the solemnization of the proposed marriage, will be final and binding.
Q. What if two adults wish to marry in a temple?
In a scenario like this, the marriage should be solemnized according to the rituals, customs, and practices under the Hindu culture. To prove such a marriage valid or legal in the eyes of law, there has to be a certificate, which is issued by the marriage registration office after going through the pictures and the statements of the witness present at the time of the marriage, other than the priest.
Q. What is the procedure for an Arya Samaj Marriage?
If the parties are Hindus (or they have converted to Hinduism), they can also opt for a marriage in the Arya Samaj Mandir.
This marriage is solemnized by the Arya Samaj Mandir following the Hindu customs and rituals and religious practices, after inspection of the required documents affirming the age and the consent of the parties.
Even if the marriage is solemnized by the Arya Samaj Mandir authorities, the parties still have to get the marriage registered by the Registrar. The registrar will go through the marriage registration process of checking the photographs, documents and the witnesses of the marriage before issuing the certificate.
Q. What is the procedure for a Sikh marriage?
In 2012, the Indian Parliament passed a law, allowing Sikhs to register their marriage under the Anand Marriage (Amendment) Act, 2012. The Anand Marriage Act was passed in 1909. There was no provision for the registration of marriages which were registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Generally, Gurudwara is chosen for marriage.
A Gurudwara which is recognized has strict rules. Wherein the duly notarized affidavits of both the parties who should be Sikh by religion are taken before the marriage. There is even a demand that parents of both sides should be present for a proper Sikh Marriage ceremony. It is also known as Anand Karaj. There are also terms and conditions as per register marriage rules to be followed.