There is an element of awe when you witness the bustle at a government office, a constant murmur, people with some paper or file in their hands, some asking strangers for a pen, tiny tea cups making rounds behind desks of different sizes—never a dull moment.
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In a sub registrar’s office, in addition to the usual buzz, one would most likely feel the thick air of tension of the many deals waiting to be signed and sealed. Only relaxed faces there are likely to be those of couples waiting to get their marriage registered, sometimes with garlands and sweets handy.
The State’s Department of Parliamentary Affairs and Law has proposed that registering a marriage within a set time frame from marriage be made compulsory. The Karnataka Marriages (Registration and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1976, with several proposed amendments, has been forwarded to the State Law Commission for its opinion. The Supreme Court had directed the states and union territories to ensure compulsory registration of marriages, but it has not been implemented yet.
Why do marriages need to be registered?
The Marriage Certificate is a legal document and can be used as a document of proof of marriage in several situations.
- Passport / Visa – addition of spouse
- During divorce – as proof of marriage in case of dispute
- Inheritance – as proof of relationship in case of dispute
- As a proof of relationship for financial institutions in case of demise of spouse without proper nomination procedure
Under what laws are marriages registered?
Procedures that need to be followed for registration or solemnising a marriage are listed on several websites including the Department of Stamps and Registration. At a Sub Registrar’s office, marriages that are conducted under various religious ceremonies can be registered and marriages can be solemnised by the Sub Registrar who is also the Marriage Officer. By law, the Bridegroom must have completed 21 years age and the bride 18 years at the time of marriage.
Marriages are registered under the following Acts:
- Hindu Marriage Act, 1955: this applies to Hindu, Buddhist, Brahma, Parthana and Arya Samaj. It also applies to all those who follow Hindu religious customs
- Special Marriage Act, 1954: it applies to all irrespective of religion, caste, language
- Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936: this law applies to Parsis and Zoroastrians
Where can the marriages be registered?
Marriages are registered by the sub registrar who is also Marriage Officer. Marriages under Hindu Marriage Act and Special Marriage Act can be registered at the office of the Marriage Officer (sub-registrar) within the jurisdiction of which the marriage has taken place or in whose jurisdiction the bride or bride-groom resides;
Marriage under Parsi Marriage Act may be registered in the Office of the District Registrar in whose jurisdiction the marriage takes place
To see the list of the offices of the sub registrars, click here.
How to register a marriage under the Hindu Marriages Act?
The application form for marriage registration needs to be filled with information like the name and address of the bridegroom and the bride, signature of bride and bridegroom, signature of 3 attesting witness present at the time of marriage along with their name and address. Photograph (6 copies, with signature across the photo) of the couple ie. bride and bridegroom should be presented to the Registrar of Marriage, marriage officer will verify the contents of the application and records. He will issue certificate of marriage if he is satisfied that the records produced are in accordance with law.
Supporting documents required include
- A copy of wedding card.
- Identity proof of both the bride and the groom (PAN card or Voter ID card or Passport, or Aadhaar card etc)
- Address proof of the husband (Passport, Driving License, House Rent Agreement, Telephone Bill, Ration Card)
- Age proof of both bride and groom (10th Std. Mark sheet with birth date on it or Passport)
- Affidavit in case of the name change of bride after the marriage.
- Newspaper in which the name-change information was published.
How to solemnise a marriage under the Special Marriages Act?
- 30 days in advance of solemnisation, the bridegroom and bride should give notice of intended marriage along with prescribed fees.
- Either of them must have lived continuously for at least 30 days within the jurisdiction of marriage officer before giving the notice.
- The notice of marriage will be posted in a prominent place at the office of the Marriage Officer.
- If there are no objections received within 30 days from the date of notice of intended marriage, the bridegroom and the bride can / should appear before the Marriage Officer within next 60 days, accompanied by three witnesses, for Solemnisation of their Marriage.
- The Marriage Officer will solemnise the marriage after following the procedures prescribed under act and rules, Marriage Officer will administer oath in the prescribed form and solemnise marriage and issue certificate of marriage.
- The bridegroom, the bride and three witnesses should sign the declaration and the certificates of marriage.
- If marriage is not solemnised within 90 days from the date of notice, fresh notice has to be issued.
What is the procedure for Registration under Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936?
A Parsi priest solemnises the marriage. He will obtain signature of bridegroom and bride and two witnesses present at the time of marriage in prescribed form and will issue the certificate of marriage. This certificate will be sent to Registrar of Marriage (District Registrar) along with prescribed fee. Registrar of marriage will record in the prescribed register.
How can a marriage conducted according to religious custom be registered under Special Marriages Act?
To register under the Special Marriages Act, the filled application form should be given along with the prescribed fee, to the sub registrar. If there are no objections, marriage officer will register the marriage after 30 days if the husband and wife appear along with three witnesses subject to following conditions:
- They should have married and must be living together since then.
- At the time of marriage none of them should have another living wife or husband.
- Both of them should be of sound mind at the time of registration of marriage
- The male should have completed the age of 21 years and the female should be above 18 years;
- They should not be within the degree of prohibited relationship such as parent, sibling, child, grandchild etc, described in Schedule I of the Act (See the table below)
- Husband and wife should have lived together for a period not less than 30 days within the jurisdiction of marriage officer.
What are the conditions to be adhered prior to registration / solemnisation of a marriage?
Following are the restrictions under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Special Marriage Act, 1954:
- Bridegroom or bride who desires to marry should not be having another wife / husband, ie. cannot still be married to another.
- Bridegroom or bride who cannot voluntarily give consent for marriages owing to mental illness is not eligible for marriage.
- Marriage of those who are capable of giving consent for marriage, but incapable of procreation owing to unsound mind can neither be solemnised nor be registered. It is not enough if the person is capable of giving consent for the marriage, he/she should also be able to conceive/procreate a child. Else the marriage will not be solemnised.
- Those suffering from insanity are ineligible for solemnisation of marriage. Mental health experts recognised by the governments need to certify this.
- Those who are within degree of prohibited relationship (refer to the table below to see the exact kind of relationships) are ineligible for marriage, even though it is permitted according to the usage of custom or usage governing such persons
- Restrictions under Parsi Marriage Act 1936: Bride and bridegroom should not be related within the degree of prohibited relationship mentioned in schedule I of the Act
What is Degree of prohibited relationship?
Hindu Marriage Act 1955 defines the degree of prohibited relationship in detail. It is the list of relationships related by blood, that should be avoided while choosing the bride or groom. This has scientific basis, and aims to prevent the birth of children with deformities. This is caused because of genetic disorders that arise due to the mixing of the genes in the same gene pool that is present in the family. The degree of this risk varies with the degree of relationship.
For the same reason, usually a marriage within a Gothra is banned in Hindu religion, as a Gothra is considered as a family tree related by blood. The Hindu Marriage Act 1955 does not solemnise such marriages by way of registration.
The table below based on this shows the prohibited relationships in which people cannot marry each other.
For a bridegroom
For a bride
2. Father’s widow (step-mother)
3. Mother’s mother
4. Mother’s father’s widow (step grand-mother)
5. Mother’s mother’s mother
6. Mother’s mother’s father’s widow (step great grandmother)
7. Mother’s mother’s mother
8. Mother’s father’s father’s widow (step great grandmother)
9. Father’s mother
10. Father’s father’s widow (step grand mother)
11. Father’s mother’s mother
12. Father’s mother’s father’s widow (step great grandmother)
13. Father’s father’s mother
14. Father’s father’s father’s widow (step great grandmother)
16. Son’s window
17. Daughter’s daughter
18. Daughter’s son’s widow
19. Son’ daughter
20. Son’s son’s widow
21. Daughter’s daughter’s daughter
22. Daughter’s daughter’s son’s widow
23. Daughter’s son’s daughter
24. Daughter’s son’s son’s widow
25. Son’s daughter’s daughter
26. Son’s daughter’s son’s widow
27. Son’s son’s daughter
28. Son’s son’s son’s widow
30. Sister’ daughter
31. Brother’ daughter
32. Mother’s sister
33. Father’s sister
34. Father’s brother’s daughter
35. Father’s sister’s daughter
36. Mother’s sister’s daughter
37. Mother’s brother’s’ daughter.
Here, the expression ‘widow’ includes a divorced wife.
2. Mother’s husband (step-father)
3. Father’s father
4. Father’s mother’s husband (step grand-father)
5. Father’s father’s father
6. Father’s father’s mother’s husband (step great grand-father)
7. Father’s mother’s father
8. Father’s mother’s mother’s husband (step great grand-father)
9. Mother’s father
10. Mother’s mother’s husband (step grand-father)
11. Mother’s father’s father
12. Mother’s father’s mother’s husband (step great grand-father)
13. Mother’s mother’s father
14. Mother’s mother’s mother’s husband (step great grand-father)
16. Daughter’s husband
17. Son’s son
18. Son’s daughter’s husband
19. Daughter’s son
20. Daughter’s daughter’s husband
21. Son’s son’s son
22. Son’s son’s daughter’s husband
23. Son’s daughter’s son
24. Son’s daughter’s daughter’s husband
25. Daughter’s son’s son
26. Daughter’s son’s daughter’s husband
27. Daughter’s daughter’s son
28. Daughter’s daughter’s daughter’s husband
30. Brother’s son
31. Sister’s son
32. Mother’s brother
33. Father’s brother
34. Father’s brother’s son
35. Father’s sister’s son
36. Mother’s sister’s son
37. Mother’s brother’s son
Here, the expression ‘husband’ includes a divorced husband.
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