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Indian Law for Marriage Registration
- ALL INDIAN MARRIAGES HAVE TO BE REGISTERED. In 2013, the Indian Parliament amended the law that made registration of Indian marriages compulsory, regardless of religion, caste or location in India.
- India has 5 marriage laws [Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Indian Christian Marriage Act 1889, Muslim Marriage Acts, Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936, Special Marriage Act, 1954]. Until mid-2013, marriage registration was compulsory for only weddings under the Hindu, Parsi and Special Marriage Acts. “Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969” was amended to make registration of marriage compulsory along with birth and death.
- Except for marriages under the “Special Marriage Act, 1954”, all registration of marriage in India is only done after a religious wedding ceremony has been performed. In the case of India’s Special Marriage Act (1954), the registration of marriage is also the solemnization of the marriage. [This link has the rules for marriages under Special Marriage Act, 1954]
- In terms of legislation in India, marriage and divorce are part of the “Concurrent List”. This means that although uniformity on laws for marriage and divorce throughout India are desirable, it is not essential.
- Thus Indian states have different laws for marriage and divorce. Marriage registration process varies from state to state; but the differences are minor.
List of Documents for Registering a Marriage in India
These are the documents (application forms and proof) required for marriage registration in India.
- Marriage Registration Application Form (or Memorandum of Marriage)
- Affidavit by the Husband and Wife
- Husband and Wife’s proof of age (Birth Certificate, Aadhar, Passport, Voter Id, PAN Card, Matriculation Certificate, Domicile Certificate, etc)
- Husband and Wife’s proof of residence (Ration Card, Aadhar Card, Passport, Election Voter Id, PAN Card, Utility bill like telephone/electricity, etc)
- Individual Photos of the Husband and Wife and Marriage photos of both
- Certificate of religious marriage issued by a Priest, Pandit, Maulvi, Kazi, Iman, etc (This is in case of a religious wedding)
- Photo and Proof of Identity of 3 Witnesses (Ration Card, Aadhar Card, Passport, Election Voter Id, PAN Card, Driver’s License, Utility bill like telephone/electricity, etc)
- Wedding Card (If not present, then an affidavit on Stamp Paper with 3 witnesses)
- Divorce Decree Certificate (In case either or both spouses are divorcees)
- Death Certificate (In case of widow or widower marriage)
(Please see the next section for details on Registration Application Form and Affidavit.)
Detailed Info on Documents Required for Marriage Registration in India
The documentation, application form and process for marriage registration in India vary from state to state; but the differences are minor. Most states require the following documents:
- Marriage Registration Application Form (or Memorandum of Marriage): Listed below is the Information in this document, along with supporting proof documents that need to be attached:
- Name and Age of the Husband: Photocopy of identity proof of name and age (Aadhar, Passport, Voter Id, PAN Card, Birth Certificate, Matriculation Certificate, Domicile Certificate,etc)
- Name and Age of the Wife: Photocopy of identity proof of name and age has to be attached.
- Photo of the Bride and the Groom: Individual photos of the husband and wife and wedding of both together.
- Date and Place of Marriage: Wedding card needs to be attached. In case of a religious wedding, certificate of religious marriage issued by the Priest, Pandit, Maulvi, Kazi, Iman, etc, who presided over the wedding.
- Particulars of the bridegroom – Full Name, Father’s name, Mother’s name, Age, Place of Residence, Address, Marital Status at the time of marriage, Signature. In case the groom is a divorcee, then copy of the divorce order needs to be attached. If he is a widower, then a copy of the death certificate of his wife needs to be attached.
- Particulars of the bride – Full Name, Father’s name, Mother’s name, Age, Place of Residence, Address, Marital Status at the time of marriage, Signature. If the bride is a divorcee, then copy of the divorce order needs to be attached. If she is a widow, then a copy of the death certificate of her husband needs to be attached.
- Particulars of 3 Witnesses at the wedding – Full Name of witness, Blood Relationship with the Bride or Groom (if any), Age, Place of Residence, Address, Signature. Note: Some states and territories expect that a Gazetted government officer should attend the wedding.
- Address of Husband or Wife: Address proof includes Ration Card, Aadhar Card, Passport, Voter Id, PAN Card,utility bill, etc. Address should be in the jurisdiction of the registrar office.
- Affidavit by the Husband and Wife: An Affidavit (or Application)should be submitted along with the Marriage Memorandum. The affidavit wording differs from state to state; but most affidavits have a declaration by the husband and wife stating that a valid marriage was solemnized between them and the information in the application form is correct.
NOTE: The original of all supporting documents have to be shown to the Marriage Officer at the marriage registration office. Attested photocopies of all documents have to be submitted.
Process for Marriage Registration in India
The registration process and time taken varies from state-to-state, but typically the couple has to make two visits to the marriage registration office.
- First the Application for Marriage Registration (or Memorandum of Marriage) and Affidavit have to be submitted to the registrar’s office along with all the relevant proof documents. Make sure that the ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS are taken so that they can be checked to be true. All the documents are checked and a date is fixed for issuing the certificate of marriage.
- On the scheduled date, husband and wife should reach the registration office along with a Gazetted Officer who attended their marriage. The marriage registrar issues the Certificate of Marriage. This whole process can take around 15 days.
NOTE: Marriages between spouses of different religions or with a foreigner are covered under the Indian Special Marriage Act (1954). The process for marriage registration under Indian Special Marriage Act (1954) is different and is explained at this page.
NOTE: Request can be made to the Marriage Registrar to send a representative to witness the wedding ceremony. This is especially useful for those people who require a Certificate of Marriage on an urgent basis.
NOTE: There is a provision for the office of registrar of marriages to send a representative to the couple’s house to register the marriage. There is a small fee for this service.
Offices where Indian Marriages are Registered
At the Center, there is a Registrar of Marriages who is the overall person responsible for wedding registration in India. At the state level too there is a Registrar of Marriage. Each state has allocated government officials and government departments as “Marriage Officers”, who can register Indian marriages. These differ from state-to-state. Generally, the following offices and government officials register Indian marriages:
- In urban cities, Deputy Commissioner for Municipal Corporations and Executive Officer for Municipalities
- At the district level, the District Magistrate is usually the Marriage Officer or Registrar of Marriage
- Sub-Registrars are Marriage Officers at the Taluk Headquarters and District Headquarters
- Sub-Divisional Magistrate’s office in the jurisdiction of either the husband or wife’s place of residence
- At the village level, Gram Panchayat can allocate marriage certificate.
Advantages of Marriage Registration
- On registering a marriage, a“Certificate of Registration of Marriage”is issued. This is a legal document that confirms that the couple is married.
- In case of death of a spouse, proof of marriage is required for claiming inheritance, insurance, bank deposits, financial investments (stocks and shares), etc.
- An important reason for making registration of marriage mandatory in India is the protection of the wife in case of marital discord and divorce. In such cases, certificate of marriage helps in protecting rights of women to custody of children, alimony, maintenance, shared marital assets, etc. It also provides legal protect to children born during the marriage.
- “Certificate of Registration of Marriage” is required as proof of marriage when applying for important documents such as passport, foreign visas, etc.
- Indian Marriage Laws
- Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
- Indian Muslim Marriage Act
- Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act
- Indian Special Marriage Act, 1954
- Indian Marriage Survey
- Iamge 1: Image from Wikimedia Commons. Image by Zainubrazvi. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.
- Image 2: Image from Wikimedia Commons. Image by Mrs. Ruby Lalit Kolhe. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.