What is a Marriage Certificate and Why is it Needed?

A Marriage Certificate is the proof of registration of a marriage. The need for a Marriage Certificate arises in case you need to prove that you are legally married to someone, for purposes like obtaining a passport, changing your maiden name, etc.

The Supreme Court of India, in 2006, made it mandatory to register all marriages, under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The Hindu Marriage Act is applicable to Hindus, whereas the Special Marriage Act is applicable to all citizens of India irrespective of their religion. The Hindu Marriage Act provides for registration of an already solemnised marriage, and does not provide for solemnisation of a marriage by a Marriage Registrar. However, the Special Marriage Act provides for solemnisation of a marriage as well as registration by a Marriage Officer. To be eligible for marriage in India, the minimum age is 21 years for males and 18 years for females.

Registration under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

The Hindu Marriage Act is applicable in cases where both husband and wife are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs, or where they have converted into any of these religions. The first step in this process is to apply to the sub-registrar under whose jurisdiction the marriage has been solemnised, or either party to the marriage has been residing.

Both partners will need to fill in the Application Form, sign it and submit it along with two photographs of the marriage ceremonies, invitation card of marriage, age and address proof of both parties, affidavit of Notary/Executive Magistrate to prove that the couple is married under Hindu Marriage Act 1955, fit mental condition and proof of non-relationship between the parties within the degree of prohibition.

All the documents should be attested by a Gazetted Officer and the parties will have to deposit a fee with the cashier at the sub-registrar and attach the receipt with the Application Form. Once the application has been submitted and the documents verified, the concerned officer will assign a date of registration when the marriage certificate will be issued.

Special Marriage Act, 1954

The Special Marriage Act is applicable to all citizens of India. Any person, irrespective of religion can solemnise and register their marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The persons intending to register their marriage under this Act have to give notice thereof in writing in specified forms to the concerned marriage officer, in whose jurisdiction at least one of the parties to the marriage have resided for a period of not less than 30 days immediately preceding the date on which notice is given.

A copy of the notice is affixed on the notice board of the registration office and a copy of the notice is sent to the marriage officer of the area where either of the parties having present/permanent addresses for similar publication. After the expiration of one month from the date of publication of the notice, if no objections are received the marriage may be solemnized. In case of objection the marriage officer conducts an enquiry and the marriage is solemnised after the enquiry concludes.

On the day of solemnisation, three witnesses are required plus basic identification documents which include proof of age and address of both parties, affidavit with regard to these as well marital status, fit mental condition, non-relationship between the parties within the degree of prohibition, passport size photographs and with three witnesses to finally solemnise the marriage. After that, the couple may apply to have their marriage registered and get an official marriage certificate from the registrar.

Marriage Registration Online

You can register a marriage certificate online, but not in all Indian states. It is unavailable even in larger cities such as Mumbai and Bengaluru, but is currently possible in Delhi. A resident of Delhi who wishes to avail of Online Registration of Marriage Certificate option may visit the website: http://edistrict.delhigovt.nic.in/ and comply with the following procedure:

1. Select the relevant district
2. Fill in the details of the husband
3. Select the ‘Registration of Marriage Certificate’ option
4. Fill in the necessary details required in the Marriage Certificate
5. Select the desired date of appointment
6. Select the ‘Submit Application’ option

An acknowledgment page will then appear with all the relevant details of your appointment and instructions to be followed. A temporary number will be allotted that will be found printed on the acknowledgement slip. The applicant must print and preserve a copy of the Application form and acknowledgement slip.

Applicants are also required to take a witness along with them to the Sub-registrar for marriage registration. A person who has attended the marriage of the parties can be a witness, provided the said person possesses a PAN Card and proof of residence.

Purpose of Marriage Certificate

A Marriage Certificate is an official statement establishing the marital status of a couple. It is an important document, which one can rely upon to prove that they are legally married to someone, and for various other purposes like obtaining a passport, opening a bank account, changing one’s maiden name, and applying for an income certificate, among other things. A marriage certificate is essentially the legal proof of registration of a marriage.

In India, a marriage can either be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The Hindu Marriage Act is applicable to Hindus, whereas the Special Marriage Act is applicable to all citizens of India irrespective of their religion. The Hindu Marriage Act provides for registration of an already solemnised marriage, and does not provide for solemnisation of a marriage by a Marriage Registrar. However, the Special Marriage Act provides for solemnisation of a marriage as well as registration by a Marriage Officer. To be eligible for marriage in India, the minimum age is 21 years for males and 18 years for females.


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