why do you need to register your marriage in India?
why do you need to register your marriage in India?

People often debate whether to have their marriage registered in court or not. The Supreme Court of India, in 2006, made it mandatory to register all marriages in the eyes of the law, making it an important certificate to prove your relationship with your spouse. In today’s time, with evolving laws, registering your marriage is the crucial step that needs to be done as soon as the wedding celebrations are finished.

If you are an Indian who wants a court marriage followed by a private ceremony or someone who has recently tied the knot, here is everything you should know about registering your wedding in India.

What are the benefits of registering a marriage in India?
Besides providing security to both partners, registering your wedding also makes things a lot smoother in a country where rules are prone to change. It helps couples to travel abroad on a spouse visa, and a marriage certificate is obligatory when applying for a residency in a different country. For couples who plan to buy a joint property or apply for a home loan, a marriage certificate is one of the mandatory documents required by a bank or lending authority.

Does religion matter while registering for your wedding?
Currently, there are two legislations depending on your religion that fall under the Marriage Registration Laws – The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and The Special Marriage Act, 1954.

If both the partners are Hindu, Sikh, Jain, or Buddhist, their marriage will be registered under The Hindu Marriage Act. However, if one partner is Muslim, Christian, Parsi, or Jewish, their marriage will have to be registered under the Special Marriage Act. Even though registering under any of these Acts will not affect the validation of marriage in any way, their process of registration might be different.

In case your partner is of a different nationality, they are registered under the Special Marriage Act. They are required to submit an additional No Impediment Certificate/NOC from the concerned Embassy along with their visa details within 30 days of getting married or else their passport can be impounded or revoked.

Under the Hindu Marriage Act, both partners need to apply to the Sub-Registrar under whose jurisdiction the marriage was solemnized, or to the registrar under whose jurisdiction either of the partners has resided for more than six months. On the other hand, under the Special Marriage Act, both partners have to give a 30-day notice to the Sub-Registrar under whose jurisdiction at least one of the partners has resided. This notice is then put on the Sub-Registrar’s office board for 30 days, and a copy of the notice is sent to the other Sub-Registrar in case either of the partners is residing under another Sub-Registrar’s jurisdiction. If there is no objection to the marriage within this period of 30 days, the marriage is then registered with the Marriage Registrar.

What is the difference between a Court Marriage and Marriage Registration?
Even though the process remains the same, court marriages are solemnized in court in front of officials, especially under the Special Marriage Act. In marriage registration, the applicants must show proof of the wedding that has been solemnized elsewhere, and the groom and bride want to register it legally.

What are the legal aspects to keep in mind when registering a marriage in India?
The couple has to fill out the marriage application form backed by necessary documents that show:

– Age of the couple.
– Proof of residence (Aadhar Card, Voter ID, Ration Card, or Driving License).
– An affidavit stating the place and date of marriage, marital status at the time of marriage, and the date of birth of both parties with their nationalities.
– Two-three passport-sized photographs.
– A copy of the divorce order in case of a divorcee, and the death certificate of the spouse in case of a widow/widower.
– A signed certificate from the priest who solemnized the marriage.
– Certificate of conversion, if applicable– Marriage invitation card, if available
– Affirmation that the parties are not related to each other within the prohibited degree of relationship as per the Hindu Marriage Act or Special Marriage Act.

The form should be signed by both the bride and groom by providing a fee of Rs 500-1000 depending from state to state. A Gazetted Officer then attests all the documents. Apart from all this, the first condition is that both parties must have given free consent which means both the partners should not be of unsound mind or be forced to take the decision.

After due verification of all the documents that have been submitted by the couple, a date is fixed for the registration which is approximately 15 days later under the Hindu Marriage Act, and 60 days later under the Special Marriage Act. On the day of the appointment, the couple has to be physically present before the Marriage Registrar along with the Gazetted Officer, three witnesses, and their documents.

Can you register your marriage online?
It depends from state to state. Currently, you can register for a marriage certificate online if you are residing in Delhi, but this procedure is unavailable in most of the big cities such as Mumbai and Bengaluru. After filling out the necessary details and submitting the online form, you’ll be allotted a temporary number. You are then required to take the printed copy of the application form, acknowledgment slip, and related documents along with your witnesses to the Sub-Registrar’s office on an allocated date for your marriage registration.

Is there a ‘Tatkal’ marriage registration?
Like passports and rail tickets, you can now get a marriage registration certificate issued with a single-day authorization, only in Delhi. It enables you and your partner to register your marriage and get a certificate issued within 24 hours by paying 10,000 INR as a fee.

What happens if the authorities refuse to solemnize the marriage?
In such cases, within thirty days from the date of refusal, the couple can appeal to the District Court under whose jurisdiction the marriage officer has in his office.

Here are the five steps that are followed when registering your marriage in a court:

1. The notice of intended marriage is to be given to the Sub-Registrar of the districts in which at least one of the parties to the marriage has resided for at least six months.
2. The Sub-Registrar shall publish/put up a copy of the notice in a visible place inviting objections if any.
3. After the expiration of 30 days notice period, a date is then fixed for the registration of marriage unless any person has objected to it.
4. The marriage application form is signed by the couple in the presence of both the Marriage Registrar and Gazetted Officer to solemnize their marriage along with three witnesses declaring their free consent at the specified marriage office.
5. Your Marriage Registrar will enter the details in the marriage register, and the marriage certificate will be issued the same day with the signatures of both the partners and witnesses.

Myth busted: You’re not legally single even if your marriage isn’t registered in India
If you haven’t registered your marriage in court, you still have to go through the same legal divorce proceedings to officially separate from your partner. The Indian government recognizes all marriages that have been officiated under religious rituals and ceremonies.