Thursday, 27 January 2022

Marriage Registration: Procedure, Documents And Timelines

 Marriage Registration: Procedure, Documents And Timelines

By Nemi Bhavsar

In India, marriage is considered as a holy, religious activity which confers rights and duties upon both the male and female involved in the marriage. The exact meaning of marriage that whether it is sacrament or a contract has received a lot of arguments and debates. The Section 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 expressly talks about the ceremonies associated with that of marriage in India.The act under Section 7(2) talks about saptapadi that involves seven steps taken by the bride and groom around the sacred holy fire jointly and that completes the marriage. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 applies to Hindu and includes Buddhist, Jain and Sikh and Muslim, Christian, Parsi and Jews are excluded.

The people that are included under the ambit of Section 7 are proved to be governed by the Hindu Law. Unlike Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, The Special Marriage Act, 1954 governs the marriage of Indians in foreign countries without taking any religious barriers into consideration categorizes marriage and that marriage is treated as civil contract by nature.The registration of marriage in India is not compulsory. Registration laws are at discretion of the state and at times the same has been proved to be beneficial whereas at times registration has not played any major role in the marriage.There are several judicial decisions regarding the registration in India and Section 8 of the act expressly deals with the provision of registration for the Hindu marriages. The registration takes place only after the solemnization of marriage as per Section 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.The solemnization of marriage takes place once the parties, that is both the male and females follows all customary rites and ceremonies as per the act. The eligible date for marriage in India is minimum 18 years for females and 21 years for males. The registration process is applicable to those who are of or above the mentioned age for men and women.

Is it mandatory to register marriage in India?

The fact that Indian is a diverse nation and a residence for several religion and group cannot be denied. Each group is being governed by their personal rules and regulation when it comes to personal laws. The framers of Indian Constitution while framing the constitution did not think fit to discuss the topic of marriage due to sensitivity involved into it.Before coming to the topics like procedure and documents required for registration, it is very important for us to know the actual meaning of registration. Section 8 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 as mentioned aforesaid expressly deals with the element of registration but it must be noted that the provision is not compulsory in nature for the parties in a marriage.

Solemnization in Hindu Marriage

The registration process under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is concerned primarily with the solemnization of marriage by the virtue of Section 7 of the act. As per the provision of the act solemnization is performed by following customary rites and ceremonies including saptapadi that is seven steps by both the parties around the sacred fire. With the performance of this, the marriage becomes absolute and binding.

The process of registration includes certain requirements and the party should carry on which are provided in the discussion

  • The sub-divisional magistrate must be provided with application form regarding the registration and it must include initials of both the parties. The parties need to wait for 15 days in case of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for an appointment whereas it may extend to 30 days in case of the Special Marriage Act, 1954

  • Both the parties must present birth certificate, passport or matriculation certificate as documentary evidence.

  • At the time of marriage registration in a court of law, both the parties should have attained the minimum legal age.

  • Both the parties must provide passport size photo as well.

  • In case the parties are registering under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, the place of residence for the parties is required for documentary evidence.

  • The marriage registration process is also followed by the deposition of fees. The deposition fee is Rs. 100 and Rs. 150 for marriage registration under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Special Marriage Act, 1954 respectively.

In the case, Margarit Palai v. Savita Palai it was held by the court that under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 only the marriage between Hindus will be registered. The marriage between Hindu and Christian cannot be registered. In another case of Kagavalli v. Saroja, the Madras High Court was of the opinion that the marriage registration should be made compulsory.

However, in the case of P. Remesh v. Secy, Kanapuram Grama Panchayat it was held by the court that registration must be done within the 15 days of solemnization of marriage.

Landmark judgments

  • Seema v. Ashwani Kumar:

In this case the Apex Court was of the opinion that the matter of registration of marriage falls within the ambit of Entry 30, List-3, and Section 7 of the Constitution of India. Hence, it was viewed that the registration of marriage for any religion under the law must be made compulsory once the solemnization has been done. It was though this case the judiciary provided nod to the legislature for making compulsory registration of marriage in India.The Apex Court provided direction to the States and Union Territories to file reports regarding the compliance and non- compliance with the provision. The states like Rajasthan, Sikkim, Karnataka, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu, Tripura compiled with the direction, some filed only in context to Hindus and others remained silent on the matter. The court also granted a period of 3 months for filing the compliance


  • Pranav A.M. v. Secy Engandiyum Gram Panchayat:

In this instant the court was of the opinion that if the marriage had taken place between two individuals after conversion of into Hinduism, then the registrar has no rights of inspection rather he/she should simply perform the duty of registering marriage.


It could be concluded that solemnization and registration are regulated legally on India. However, law needs to be upgraded with the societal changes so that it may get fit in the present situation. The compulsory registration of marriage should not be the solution for societal issues that a woman suffers.The laws should be made keeping in the constitutional provisions. The laws should be such that talks about equality i.e. Article 14, laws should be such that no discrimination is made Article 15(1) but at same time Article 15(3) talks about power of the state to make special provisions for women and children. The question at hand "Is India ready to have compulsory registration laws in India?" remains to be negative and gender equality is far to achieve.

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