At a Glance about Legal Marriage registration – Yes, it’s the most important process to legally register ourselves

Depending on your religion, you can either register under the Hindu Marriage Act or the Special Marriage Act, based on religion.

Age limit:

Hindu Marriage Act: Bridegroom should be 21 years of age and bride should be 18 years of age

Special Marriage Act: Bridegroom and bride should be 21 years of age

Who can be registered under Hindu Marriage Act?To register under this Act, both the partners need to be Hindu. The Act also applies to anyone who is a permanent resident in the India who is not Muslim, Jew, Christian, or Parsi by religion.

Although the Act originally applied to Sikhs as well, the Anand Karaj Marriage Act gives Sikhs their own personal law related to marriage.

Although the Act originally did not apply to citizens in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the effect of the J&K Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 made it applicable.

Conditions for marriage

Section 5 of The Hindu Marriage Act specifies that conditions must be met for a marriage to be able to take place. If a ceremony takes place, but the conditions are not met, the marriage is either void by default, or voidable.

Void marriages

 A marriage may be declared void if it contravenes any of the following:

  1. Either party is under age. The bridegroom should be of 21 years of age and the bride of 18 years.
  2. Either party is not of a Hindu religion. Both the bridegroom and the bride should be of the Hindu religion at the time of marriage.
  3. Either party is already married. The Act expressively prohibits polygamy. A marriage can only be solemnized if neither party has a living spouse at the time of marriage.
  4. The parties are sapindas or within the degree of prohibited relationship.

Voidable marriages

A marriage may later be voidable (annulled) if it contravenes any of the following:

  1. Either party is impotent, unable to consummate the marriage, or otherwise unfit for the procreation of children.
  2. One party did not willingly consent. To consent, both parties must be sound of mind and capable of understanding the implications of marriage. If either party suffers from a mental disorder or recurrent attacks of insanity or epilepsy, then that may indicate that consent was not (or could not be) given. Likewise, if consent was forced or obtained fraudulently, then the marriage may be voidable.
  3. The bride was pregnant by another man other than the bridegroom at the time of the marriage.

Registering a marriage

A marriage cannot be registered unless the following conditions are fulfilled

  1. a ceremony of marriage has been performed
  2. the parties have been living together as husband and wife

Additionally, the parties must have been residing within the district of the Marriage Officer for a period of not less than thirty days immediately preceding the date on which the application is made to him for registration.

Section 8 of the Hindu Marriage Act allows state government to make rules for the registration of Hindu marriages to that state, particularly with respect to recording the particulars of marriage as may be prescribed in the Hindu Marriage Register.

Registration provides written evidence of marriage. As such, the Hindu Marriage Register should be open for inspection at all reasonable times (allowing anyone to obtain proof of marriage) and should be admissible as evidence in a court of law.

Steps to follow:

  • Apply to the sub-registrar under whose jurisdiction the marriage took place. Alternatively, you can apply to the registrar of the place where bridegroom or bride stayed for at least six months before marriage.
  • Bridegroom and bride need to fill the relevant application form, sign it, and submit it, along with photocopies of the necessary documents, such as age proof and address proof. For proof of marriage, submit a certificate from the priest who solemnised the marriage.
  • Also, attach an affidavit, mentioning the place and date of marriage. If you have a wedding invitation card, you can produce this as well.
  • Previous marital status needs to be disclosed, in case either spouse is a divorcee or widow/widower, a copy of the divorce decree or death certificate of the previous spouse is required. All the documents should be attested by a gazetted officer.
  • You will have to deposit a fee with the cashier and attach the receipt with the form. The fee differs from state to state but is usually Rs 100-200.
  • Once the application has been submitted and the documents verified, the concerned officer will assign a date for registration, when the marriage certificate will be issued. Make sure that the gazetted officer who attests your documents accompanies you on the day of registration.

Are you converted to Hindu? If both are Hindu while registering marriage though your converted to Hindu, still you will come under Hindu Marriage Act but will have to provide a certificate of conversion from the priest who solemnised the marriage, along with relevant documents.

Who can register under Special Marriage Act? – When inter religion marriage among Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists happens, they can register under this Act. This act applies to every state of India, except the state of Jammu & Kashmir.

Special Marriage Act covers both marriage solemnising and registration. The basic requirement for a valid marriage under this Act is the consent of both the parties to the marriage. If both the parties are ready to marry each other, that suffices it; here caste, religion, race, etc. cannot and do not act as a hindrance to their union.

For marriage under this Act, the parties need to file a notice expressing their intention to marry each other, with the Marriage Registrar of the district in which at least one of the parties to the marriage has resided for at least 30 days preceding the date on which such notice is being filed. The marriage is then said to be solemnized after the expiry of 30 days from the date on which such notice has been published. But if any person related to the parties objects this marriage and the Registrar finds it to be a reasonable cause of objection, then he can cancel the marriage on such grounds. For a valid marriage, it is also required that the parties give their consent to the marriage in front of the Marriage officer and three witnesses.

Detailed post on solemnization of marriage under Special Marriage Act is covered in next post.

Documents/Applications for Hindu Marriage Act:

Application at private residence

Application for Extract

Application for Registration

Declaration at private residence

Registration Request at private residence

Documents/Applications for Special Marriage Act:

Special Marriage Declaration

Special Marriage Notice

Please note that the information provided on this page:

  • Does not provide a complete or authoritative statement of the law
  • Does not constitute legal advice by us
  • Does not create a contractual relationship
  • Does not form part of any other advice, whether paid or free
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