How to Obtain a Death Certificate in India

Last Updated at: Oct 20, 2020
A person who does not leave a will on his death is said to have died intestate. A succession certificate is mandatory for claiming assets such as bank balance, etc.


In India, a death certificate is a primary document on the basis of which inheritance of property, insurance settlement and a host of other legal claims are processed. A death certificate mentions the date and time of death and has the intrinsic capacity to relieve survivors of impending debts and obligations.

According to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act of 1966, there are Chief Registrars at the State-level and District and Town level registrars at the subordinate level to discharge the function of registration. 

Who needs to report and when? 

While the customary and religious rituals are performed by the family, the death in the house needs to be reported within 21 days of its occurrence by the head of the family. However, if the death happens in the hospital, it is the Medical in-charge/Chief Medical Officer who needs to report the same or the Jail in-charge, in case the deceased person breathes his/her last in a prison. Although the Act stipulates these specific circumstances, in case of an ordinary death, anyone from the family – such as the oldest male or any relative of the deceased may put in a request to obtain the certificate. 

Ask Legal advice on Death Certificate

The Act also puts the onus on health attendants or keeper or the owner of a place set apart for the disposal of dead bodies to report the death. Additionally, in medical cases, the last attending practitioner has to provide a certificate of cause of death, without taking any fee from the person requesting such a certificate. 

List of documents required to be submitted 

Please note that you might be asked for all or some of these documents by the Registrar in your state before issuing a death certificate: 

  1. Birth certificate, for proof of age 
  2. Affidavit specifying the date and time of death 
  3. Copy of Ration card 
  4. Address proof (Electricity bills etc.)

The Rules under the Act also state the Registrar will enter the name of the deceased into records without any fee or reward. 

Additionally, the person approaching the Registrar may also have to furnish documents that specify his or her relationship with the deceased. 

What if you miss registration within the specified time? 

It is a challenge to manage legal formalities while coping with the loss of a loved one, and thus, any delay in reporting the death (after 21 days but before the expiry of 30 days) to the Registrar can be condoned by simply paying a nominal late fee of Rs. 2/-

However, if the delay is of more than thirty days, the same can be done with the written permission of the Registrar and an affidavit from a notary public, within one year of the date of death. 

Whether the death certificate can be obtained online? 

While some states have made this process easier by allowing electronic uploading of documents, several other states still require physical submission of documents. Some states also require a proof from the crematorium alongside a doctor’s signed report of death. 

In New Delhi and Chandigarh, the hospitals have been given the power to issue online death certificates which can be obtained by the family of the deceased online, without having to physically visit the hospital. 

A proforma for registration may be obtained from A print out of this filled in the form needs to be submitted to the local registrar’s office and the applicant can track the progress on the same using their online account. This facility is not available in case of a delay, that is beyond 21 days of death, in which case, a registration form has to be physically obtained from the Registrar’s office along with necessary documents and late fee. 

Avani Mishra is a graduate in law from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal. She qualified the Company Secretary course with an All India Rank 1 and is a recipient of the President’s Gold Medal for her academic distinctions. She also holds a B.Com degree with a specialization in Corporate Affairs and Administration.