PROCEDURE AND REGISTRATION OF MARRIAGE UNDER HINDU MARRIAGE ACT
The Supreme Court of India, in 2006, made it mandatory to register all marriages. 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 applies to Hindus, whereas the Special Marriage Act applies to all citizens of India irrespective of their religion. The Hindu Marriage Act provides for registration of an already solemnized marriage and does not provide for solemnization of a marriage by a Marriage Registrar. However, the Special Marriage Act provides for solemnization 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. The register marriage process is applicable only for the above-mentioned age for men and women. The register marriage procedure for lovers also remains the same.
Registration under the 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 marriage registration process is to apply to the sub-registrar under whose jurisdiction the marriage has been solemnized, 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 document will be issued.
Under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, certain conditions have to be fulfilled to consider the marriage between the parties legal and valid. These conditions have been specified under Sec. 5 and sec. 7 of the Act. Under section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, a marriage is considered valid only if both the parties to the marriage are Hindus. If either of the party to the marriage is a Muslim or a Christian, then the marriage will not be a valid Hindu marriage.
Special Marriage Act, 1954
The Special Marriage Act applies to all citizens of India. Any person, irrespective of religion can solemnize and register their marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The persons intending to register 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 has resided for 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 inquiry and the marriage is solemnized after the inquiry concludes.
On the day of solemnization, three witnesses are required plus basic identification documents required for marriage certificate which include proof of age and address of both parties, affidavit concerning 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 solemnize the marriage. After that, the couple may apply to have their marriage registered and get an official marriage certificate document from the registrar.
The Special Marriage Act deals with both registrations and solemnization of marriage. Under this Act, certain conditions have been laid down under Sec. 4, which are considerably similar to those laid down under Sec. 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1954.
According to this act, no religious ceremonies are a prerequisite for a marriage to be complete.