Why Should I Register my Marriage?
A marriage certificate is not just 'another license' that one must obtain. It is in fact a very essential document that couples generally tend to overlook in the euphoria and fanfare of their marriage. The outlook that many people have, is that 'it is a waste of time, who needs a marriage certificate?' But the reality is that every couple entering a marriage needs this legal authorization.
In earlier times, only the affluent used to register their marriages because of succession to property. In the case of remarriage after the death of a spouse or in case of a divorce, the courts issued a certificate of death/divorce, and most educated families wanted this evidence.
Sometime around 2005-06 the Supreme Court made it mandatory for couples to register their marriages and the benefits of registering a marriage definitely outweigh those of non-registration, which in the latter case are none.
You may want to travel abroad, in such cases a marriage certificate is taken as proof of a marriage and not any photographs or anything else depicting ceremonial marriages. No certificate means no spouse visas- that is the rule.In certain countries work-permits may also be denied on the ground that no marriage certificates are available.
It is also not uncommon in today's day and age where people want to marry outside their caste/religion which may not be accepted by all, in such cases, a marriage certificate will help couples overcome that and solemnize a marriage and hence will not be subjected to any force/coercion whatsoever.
The process of legalizing a marriage could also help if a party is being forced into marrying someone, the person can easily deny and record this in front of the registrar and the marriage will not be registered.
Marriage Registration helps the authorities to keep a check on child marriages. If your age is not the one required under law, your marriage will not be registered irrespective of the amount of love, feelings et al.
A marriage certificate acts as a deterrent to any abandonment. It helps you establish your rights in a marriage in a court of law. In case of the death of either of the partners, a marriage certificate facilitates the inheritance of the property.
Registration of marriages is not as tedious as many think. You require basic passport size photographs, birth certificates, proof of residence and witnesses and along with these you need to fill in a simple marriage registration form, and your marriage could be registered within a day.
In India, there are two acts under which a marriage can be registered. One is the 'Hindu marriage act of 1955' which is applicable only to Hindus. The other is the 'Special Marriage Act of 1954', applicable to all the citizens of India.
STEPS OF REGISTERING A MARRIAGE UNDER THE HINDU MARRIAGE ACT,1955 (Hindu Marriage Registration)
- The couple has to apply to the Registrar in whose jurisdiction the marriage has taken place or to the Registrar in whose jurisdiction either of the two has been residing for a minimum of six months immediately preceding the date of marriage.
- The couple will have to appear before the Registrar along with witnesses,they could be the parents, guardians or friends, within one month from the date of marriage.
- A provision for condonation for delay up to 5 years is available, by the Registrar, and after that by the District Registrar concerned.
STEPS OF REGISTERING A MARRIAGE UNDER THE SPECIAL MARRIAGE ACT,1954
- The couple has to give a notice to the Marriage Officer in whose jurisdiction at least one of the parties has resided for not less than 30 days prior to the date of notice. It should be affixed at some conspicuous place in his office.
- If either of the two is residing in the area of another Marriage Officer, a copy of the above mentioned notice should be sent to him for similar publication.
- The marriage may be legally sanctified after one month from the date of publication of the notice, if no objections are received. In case of receipt of objections, the Marriage Officer will have to enquire into them and decide whether to solemnise the marriage or to refuse it. Registration will be done after solemnisation of the marriage.
Addresses of some Registrar offices in various cities are as follows
Photo Courtesy : Pradeep Sanyal, Anubhav Sood