A marriage certificate is a legal document issued by the Registrar of Marriage as proof of marriage between a couple. A marriage certificate is essential to document when the couple goes for Visa, passport or joint bank account. As per law, it’s mandatory. Marriage registration can be done at either of three places i.e. area where the husband resides, an area where the wife resides or the place where the marriage took place.
Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a socially or ritually recognized union between two individuals aka spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them, between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws.
Why is Marriage necessary?
George Bernard Shaw once said ‘Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to this country and to mankind is to bring up a family.’
Marriage is not just a relation but it is an emotional and spiritual union. It is the beginning of the family and teaches a lot to lead a life with a partner as a team. It eliminates loneliness from life and extends a great life companion. This institution has gained so much importance not because it just lends us a license to stay together, but since it ushers a lot of the society. With contentment and cheerfulness, it allows us to become responsible and committed to our spouse and children. The umbrella of family offers huge benefits to a child that leads him/her to become a good social citizen. Indeed, bringing up a family helps to strengthen the society as family values are passed on from parents to their children.
Religion also plays a big part in societal decisions to do with marriage and singlehood where marriage and singlehood can each, in its own way, be a sign of service or devotion to the deity in question.
Types of Marriage Act –
Christian Marriage Act
The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872, relates to the solemnization of marriage of persons professing the Christian religion. The Act provides that any marriage solemnized otherwise than in accordance with the Act shall be void.
Solemnization of Christian Marriage
Under Section 5 of the Act, Christian marriages can be solemnized by –
- A person who has received Episcopal ordination,
- Any clergyman of the Church of Scotland,
- Any Minister of Religion licensed under the Act,
- A Marriage Registrar appointed under section 7 of the Act and
- Any person licensed under section 9 to grant certificates of marriage.
Hindu Marriage Act
The Hindu Marriage Act, which came into power on18 May 1955, governs all Hindu marriages. The Act has reformed the Hindu law of marriage and covers entire India except for the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Only if both the parties are Hindus can the marriage take place under the Hindu Marriage Act.
The Act applies to:
- Any person who is Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh by religion.
- Any person who is born to Hindu parents.
- Any person who is not a Muslim Christian, Parsi or Jew, and who is not governed by any other law.
The Act does not apply to:
- To persons who are Muslims, Christians, Parsis or Jews by religion.
- To members of the scheduled tribes coming within the meaning of clause (25) of Article 366 of the Constitution of India unless the Central Government by notice otherwise directs.
Muslim Marriage Act
The Muslim marriage is governed not by the Indian Majority Act, 1875 but by Muslim law itself. According to Muslim Law, Marriage / ‘Nikah’ is a contract underlying a permanent relationship based on mutual consent.
Essential Features of Muslim Nikah –
- A Muslim marriage requires a proposal (Ijab) from one party and acceptance (Qubul) from the other as is required for a contract.
- There can be no marriage without free consent and such consent should not be obtained by means of coercion, fraud or undue influence.
- Just as in the case of a contract, entered by a guardian, on attaining majority, so can a marriage contract in Muslim Law, be set aside by a minor on attaining the age of puberty.
- The parties to a Muslim marriage may enter into any ante-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement which is enforceable by law provided it is reasonable and not opposed to the policy of Islam. The same is the case with a contract.
- The terms of a marriage contract may also be altered within legal limits to suit individual cases.
- Although discouraged both by the holy Quran and Hadith, yet like any other contract, there is also provision for the breach of the marriage contract.
Parsi Marriage Act
The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 governs the matrimonial relations of Parsis in India. The Act defines the word ‘Parsi’ as a Parsi Zoroastrian. A Zoroastrian is a person who professes the Zoroastrian religion. It has a racial significance. Every marriage, as well as divorce under this Act, is required to be registered in accordance with the procedure prescribed in the Act.
Requisites to Validity of Parsi Marriages
No Parsi marriage shall be valid if:
- The contracting parties are related to each other in any of the degrees of consanguinity or affinity set forth in Schedule I; or
- Such marriage is not solemnized according to the Parsi form of a ceremony called “Ashirvad” by a priest in the presence of two Parsi witnesses other than such priest; or
- In the case of any Parsi (whether such Parsi has changed his or her religion or domicile or not) who, if a male, has not completed 21 years of age, and if a female, has not completed 18 years of age. If a party to the marriage is under that age, the consent of the guardian should be obtained.
Parsi Marriage and Divorce (Amendment) Act, 1988
By the Parsi Marriage and Divorce (Amendment) Act, 1988 (5 of 1988), the scope of certain provisions of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 have been enlarged so as to bring them in line with the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
Special Marriage Act
The Special Marriage Act was enacted to provide a special form of marriage for any person in India and all Indian nationals in foreign countries irrespective of religion or faith followed by either party to the marriage. The parties may observe any ceremonies for the solemnization of their marriage but certain formalities are prescribed before the marriage officer can register the marriage. For the good of the Indian citizens abroad, the act provides for the appointment of diplomatic and consular officers as marriage officers for solemnizing and registering marriages between citizens of India in a foreign country. The Act is applicable throughout the country except for the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Conditions for the Special Marriage Act are as follows:
The Act states that a marriage between two persons can be legalized if the following conditions are satisfied at the time of marriage:
- Neither of the two parties has a spouse living at the time of marriage.
- Neither of the two is incapable of giving valid consent to the marriage due to unsoundness of mind.
- Neither of the party has been suffering from a mental disorders of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriages and the procreation of children.
- Neither party has been subject to recurrent attacks of epilepsy or insanity.
- At the time of marriage, the groom should be of 21 years of age and the bride should be of 18 years of age.
- Both the parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship; provided that where a custom governing at least one of the parties permits of a marriage between them, such marriage may be solemnized, notwithstanding that they are within the degrees of prohibited relationship, and
- Where the marriage is solemnized in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, both parties are citizens of India domiciled in the territories to which this Act extends.
Eligibility for Marriage
Prohibition of Child Marriage Act states that a girl in India can’t marry before the age of 18, and a boy before 21. (According to UNICEF, 47% of girls are married by 18 years of age, and 18% are married by 15 years of age.)
Registration of Marriage in India
In 2005, the National Commission for Women proposed The Compulsory Registration of Marriages Bill 2005; the bill contained a provision for compulsory registration of all marriages in the country within the 30 days of solemnization of the same. The statement of object and reasons in the Bill stated that compulsory registration of marriages in the country will help in dealing with many serious social and legal problems in the country. It will be helpful in preventing child marriages and would ensure that the minimum age of marriage is complied with. Also, such a law will prevent non-consensual marriages in the country, will check illegal marriage/polygamy and among other things, would enable married women to claim their right to live in the matrimonial home, claim maintenance etc. and therefore will be a step in direction of empowerment of women.
On the registration of marriages in personal laws of other religions, legislations are already in place. For Christians it is the Indian Christian Marriage Act of 1872, similarly, for the Parsis, it is The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936 that makes registration of marriages compulsory. Muslim marriages are contractual in nature. The Nikah Nama serves as valid proof of a Muslim marriage. On the other hand, for Hindus, Section 8 of the Hindu Marriage Act talks about registration. It makes it recommendatory for states to have laws for the registration of marriage also stating that the failure to register will in no way impact the validity of the same. But the absence of marriage registration may cause hassles in procuring other governmental documents.
Documents required for Marriage Registration/ Marriage certificate
- Documentary evidence of the date of birth of parties (Matriculation Certificate/Passport/Birth Certificate)
- Address Proof of husband or wife whose area SDM has been approached for the marriage certificate (Voter id/Passport/ Adhar card/ Driving License)
- Two passport size photographs of both the parties
- A marriage photograph
- Marriage invitation card
- 6 joint photograph of husband & wife (3*2 or 2b size)
- If marriage was solemnized in a religious place, a certificate from the priest is required who solemnized the marriage
- 3 witness having ID card & photograph
- Attested copy of divorce decree/order in case of a divorcee and death certificate of spouse in case of widow/widower.
How to apply for Marriage Certificate
- You can apply at the office of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate in whose jurisdiction the husband or wife resides on any working day.
- Fill the Application form duly signed by both husband and wife.
- Verification of all the documents is carried out on the date of application and a day is fixed for the appointment and communicated to the parties for registration.
- On the given day, both parties, along with a Gazetted Officer who attended their marriage, need to be present before the ADM. The Certificate is issued on the same day.
For Online Registration:
- Select your district and continue.
- Fill in the husband’s details and choose “Registration of Marriage Certificate”.
- Fill in the Marriage Certificate form and choose the date of appointment.
- Click “Submit Application”.
- You will be allotted a temporary number that will be found printed on the acknowledgment slip and the application form is done.
- Take a printout of the acknowledgment slip as well.
In the case of the Hindu Marriage Act, you will get an appointment within 15 days of the online registration, but in the case of the Special Marriage Act, it may take up to 60 days.
Any person who has attended the wedding of the couple can be a witness and must have a PAN Card and Proof of Residence.
‘Tatkal’ Marriage Certificate
In April 2014, the Revenue Department of the Delhi government introduced a ‘tatkal’ service ensuring a single-day authorization of the marriage under which the registration process will be undertaken on priority. The service, which became operational on April 22, 2014 enables citizens to register their nuptials and get a certificate issued within 24 hours on payment of Rs. ***** as a fee.
Benefits of Marriage Certificate
- If you are applying for a passport or opening a bank account after the wedding, then Marriage Certificate is required.
- Extremely helpful in obtaining visas for both husband and wife.
- As the foreign embassies in India as well as in countries outside India, do not recognize traditional marriages, the Marriage Certificate is mandatory for the couple to travel abroad using a spouse visa.
- Enables a spouse in claiming life insurance returns or bank deposits in case of demise of the Insurer or depositor without any nominee.
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