Policy making on public health issues requires data of many kinds. One such important data category is the number of birth and death registrations. For instance, the changes in birth registration allowed researchers to note the drastic drop in Karnataka’s fertility rate over the past 40 years. On the other hand, death registration has played a key role in identifying health trends in the state, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For citizens, birth and death certificates impact everything from admission into schools to entitlements like pension and other benefits. But what are the steps for registering and receiving birth/death certificates in Bengaluru? Here is a handy guide.
According to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act of 1969, the Civil Registration System (CRS) is helmed by a Chief Registrar appointed by the State Government. The Chief Registrar, in turn, appoints Registrars responsible for entering accurate details in the CRS.
The Karnataka Registration of Births and Deaths Rules came into effect in January 1999. The Act requires the state’s Chief Registrar to provide annual statistical reports of the CRS after compiling monthly summary reports delivered by Registrars. The annual report for 2020, however, has not yet been made public.
In Bengaluru, BBMP’s Medical Officers of Health (MOH) are recognized as Registrars. Hospitals/maternity clinics/health centres/nursing homes are typically considered the first point of contact for the ‘Head of the Household’ (HOH) to complete Form-1 in the case of births, Form-2 in the case of deaths and Form-3 for still births. In a situation where a birth/death took place in a non-hospital setting (for example in a restaurant), it is the person in-charge of that location who is responsible for alerting authorities.
Who is able to fill out either form remains, intriguingly, a confusing section in the Act that is yet to be rectified. The document refers to the HOH as ‘he’ and states that in ‘his’ absence, and the absence of his nearest relative present in the house, it is the responsibility of the ‘oldest adult male’ present in the area to complete the necessary form.
The application fee for both certificates is Rs 5 with an additional Service Charge of Rs 20 levied on those submitting the application in-person. There is no service charge for those submitting online.
Birth registrations help in availing the benefits of several schemes in Karnataka like maternity aid and financial assistance for daughters in BPL households. The form to be completed for registering births should be found in every recognised healthcare institution across the city. You can also fill out this form online.
Once filled, the institution (most likely the maternity ward of a hospital) is mandated to electronically send the form to the nearest BBMP office. If done online, the form will automatically be sent to the Registrar (MOH) who will then approve or reject the application. Rejection can occur in inconsistencies (for example in spelling) provided regarding family names and relations, provision of invalid documents. If approved, a certificate can be collected from the same BBMP office.
If a child is born outside India and returns to settle in the country, the birth can be registered within 60 days of arrival. After 60 days, the procedure is the same as for delayed registration of births within India.
If the child born is unnamed at the time of registration, there is a window of 12 months for parents/guardians to alter the certificate with the chosen legal name. If the name is added after 12 months but before 15 years, a late fee of Rs 5 is charged. The Acts also make clear that Registrars must perform any corrections/changes needed by certificate holders provided that the alterations are not deemed fraudulent. Despite the Karnataka High Court reasserting this in 2019, cases persist of Registrars rejecting genuine concerns like spelling corrections and name/gender changes.
Like birth certificates, death registration primarily takes place in healthcare institutions. You can also apply for a certificate in a BBMP office. If a death occurs in a vehicle, the hospital at the first halt from the site of death can be utilized to fill out the necessary forms. In either case, there are no costs for filling out the form. Even if a person is applying for a death certificate in a BBMP office, they will have to keep in mind that only a registered medical practitioner is legally allowed to issue the Cause of Death (COD) certificate for issuance of a death certificate by the registrars who are responsible for issuing death certificates to applicants.
In the case of abandoned bodies, hospitals are required to preserve them for a period of seven days. During this time, a person with formal proof of relationship can claim the body. After seven days, the police are informed and a post-mortem examination is conducted. In case of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), the Registrar-General should record the event at the Indian Consulate.
Fines for delayed registration
Karnataka has arranged certain state-wide fines related to delayed birth/death registrations. The free period for registration is within 21 days. Applicants will be charged Rs 2 according to the Karnataka Registration of Births and Deaths Rules after 21 days but before 30 days of submission. The fee increases to Rs 5 for applying after 30 days but within a year of the occurrence.
Read more: “The bribe and I”
After one year of the birth/death, the registration can happen only on the order of a Magistrate and the applicant will be charged a late fee of Rs 10. If the birth/death is not recorded, the applicant should get a Non-Availability Certificate (NAC), from the BBMP and documents such as address proof are required in the absence of hospital records. The fee for getting an NAC is Rs 2.
In certain public hospitals, the Resident Medical Officer (RMO) has the power of the sub-registrar and is authorised to certify births and death that occur in the hospital. In such cases, the relevant certificate will be made available in the hospital itself within 24 to 48 hours after the event. This is applicable in six government hospitals of Bengaluru—Victoria, Bowring, Vani Vilas, KC General Hospital, Ghousia and Command Hospital—and in the seven Corporation Hospitals in the city.
Follow these steps to apply for birth/death certificates online:
- Go to sevasindhu.karnataka.gov.in website and click on Departments & Services
- Click on page 5 at the bottom right of the website. Alternatively you can search ‘birth’ or ‘death’ in the search box
- Click on Planning Programme Monitoring & Statistics Department
- Select Application for Birth Certificate/Death Certificate
- Click on Apply online
- Enter the phone number used to apply, OTP, captcha and click on Log In button
- If you have the Registration number of the previously issued certificate, select “Yes. Enter the Registration Number and click on Search to get the details
- If you don’t have the Registration number of the previously issued certificate, select “No”
- For Birth Certificates, enter the Date of Birth, Name of Child, Father’s Name and Mother’s Name and click on Search to get the details
- For Death Certificates, enter the Date of Death, Name of Deceased, Father’s Name and Mother’s Name and click on Search to get the details
- Select the checkbox (“Yes”) and enter the number of copies you want to print. Enter the captcha and click on Submit to proceed further
- Make a payment of Rs 5 through your preferred method
- Save the acknowledgement generated
Follow these steps to download your certificate:
- Go to sevasindhu.karnataka.gov.in and click on Registered Users Login Here
- Enter the phone number used to apply, OTP, captcha and click on Submit
- Click on View Status of Application –> Track application status
- Enter Application Reference Number (you can refer to the Acknowledgment generated while applying/SMS received to get the Application Reference Number)
- Click on Get Data
- Check the Current Status column. You can download only if the Status shows ‘Delivered’
- If it is delivered, click on Delivered
- Under Issue Document(s), click on Output certificate
- The certificate will be automatically downloaded
You can record any feedback or complaints against bureaucratic corruption or delayed processing at the eJanma website.