What is marriage certificate and how to apply for it?
A marriage certificate is an important document to have for married couples in India. It serves as the legal proof of marriage between two individuals. Getting their marriage registered and having a marriage certificate is necessary for married couples in order to avail a number of services/facilities in the country. Here's everything about marriage certificates and the procedure for registering marriages in India.
The importance of having a marriage certificate
A marriage certificate helps an individual in proving they are legally married to someone, especially beneficial for getting a passport, visa, work permit, etc. if their spouse lives abroad. It is also beneficial in availing life insurance benefits, family pension, bank deposits, etc. if their spouse dies without nomination and otherwise too. Also, courts may require marriage certificates in cases of divorce/legal separation/alimony/child custody.
There are two Marriage Acts in India
In India, there are two Marriage Acts: The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and The Special Marriage Act, 1954. The Hindu Marriage Act applies to marriages where both the husband and wife are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, or if they've converted to these religions. The Special Marriage Act applies to marriages of individuals of any religion, including inter-religious marriages, and for Indians living abroad, too.
What documents are required for obtaining marriage certificates?
Documents required include application form duly filled/signed by both husband and wife, their age proofs, passport-sized photos, one marriage photo, Aadhaar cards, address proof, and marriage invitation (if available). A certificate from the priest (for marriages conducted in religious places) and a conversion certificate from the priest in cases where one of the parties is converted (under the Hindu Marriage Act) are also required.
Other important documents to submit
Both parties are also required to submit separate Marriage Affidavits. An attested copy of divorce order (for divorcees) or death certificate of spouse (for widows/widowers) is necessary. They should pay Rs. 100 fees to the cashier of the district in case of registration under the Hindu Marriage Act and Rs. 150 for the Special Marriage Act; this receipt should be attached with their application.
Marriages must be registered in jurisdictions where wedding took place
Couples who have already performed their marriage rituals and are applying to register their marriage later also come under the Special Marriage Act. Marriages under both the Marriage Acts must be registered in the concerned Gram Panchayat/Municipality/Corporation where the wedding took place.
How to obtain marriage certificates under the Hindu Marriage Act?
Under the Hindu Marriage Act, the application must be duly filled and signed by the husband and wife, along with two witnesses. After document verification, they'll be allotted an appointment date. The couple must appear before the Sub-District Magistrate along with a gazetted officer who has attended their wedding and sign in the marriage register. Their marriage certificate would be issued the same day.
Registration under the Special Marriage Act
For cases under the Special Marriage Act, once the application is submitted, there'll be a 30-day notice period inviting objections. A copy of the notice is displayed on the concerned office's notice-board and is also sent to the addresses of both husband and wife. Registration is done after the 30-day period. Both parties and three witnesses should be present on the day of registration.