Are Church Marriage Certificates Valid For Aadhar?

The article takes the reader through understanding the intricacies of producing a valid marriage certificate to facilitate Aadhar card application. 

Before discussing whether church marriage certificates are valid for Aadhaar Cards, let us first discuss the meaning of marriage in brief. Marriage can be defined as a legal contract between two individuals who decide to stay together with their partner for the rest of their lives. In other words, marriage is all about understanding and showing due respect to your partner’s feelings, emotions, sentiments, happiness, and sorrows in the so-called journey of life. However, marriage registration is compulsory for all individuals. If there is a conflict between the husband and the wife in the days ahead and the matter requires legal action, producing the legal marriage certificate in a court of law is very important. 

Now let us move ahead and find out whether a church marriage certificate is valid for Aadhaar or not. 

Issues faced by Women in Changing their Names in Aadhar After Marriage in Church

Let me tell you that a church marriage certificate is not considered a valid document for Aadhaar. You must understand that the application for Aadhar requires a valid document, and these documents need to be officially accepted.  The issue with church marriage certificates came to the forefront when a petition was filed in the High Court of Bombay in a case about Aadhaar. The Bombay High Court has asked for an answer on this petition from the Center. In this petition, Christian women have highlighted their challenges when changing their names on their Aadhaar Cards. These Christian women find it extremely difficult to change the terms in their Aadhaar Cards since a church marriage certificate is not considered a valid document for Aadhaar. 

A marriage certificate issued by any religious place, including a church, where the marriage was solemnised, can only be looked at as a document to prove that the marriage in question has been performed. Therefore, although endorsed by a particular social community, a church marriage has no validity as far as the legal purview is concerned. Such a marriage certificate cannot be accepted as valid proof that marriage has happened in the given context. In some instances, it has been brought to notice that church marriages have faced challenges based on the non-performance of some compulsory rituals involved in the marriage. In order to make the marriage legal, the marriage should be registered in the concerned office. By concerning office, we mean the office of ‘Registrar of Marriages’, of that place where both parties reside and have a permanent address. It is also referred to as the place of solemnisation of the marriage. Therefore, it is crucial to understand, Marriage registration has become mandatory in India. Only the marriage certificate which the registrar of marriages has issued is considered legal and can be used as evidence. As a matter of fact, legal marriage certificates need to be produced at the time of any particular document application in case there is such a requirement.

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An Explanation of the Petition filed at the High Court

In May 2022, justices Revathi-Mohite Dere, as well as Madhav Jamdar, had heard the petition filed by 27-year-old Maurissa Almeida, a Roman Catholic Christian woman. On December 26th, 2021, Maurissa Almeida married Swapnil at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Vasai. Post the marriage; they received their marriage certificate, which was issued by the Parish Priest on January 19th, 2022. The Chancellor, Vasai Diocese, did the marriage certificate’s attestation, and then it was notarised.

According to her, government institutions do not accept church marriage certificates. Furthermore, applications made by such couples (who have a marriage certificate issued by the church) who wish to go to foreign countries have been kept on hold since the foreign consulates ask for legally accepted marriage certificates.

According to a report by the Times of India, on January 31st, 2022, the ‘Christian Marriage Registrar at Mantralaya’ had approved and had also stamped the Home Department did the marriage certificate and the same. According to her petition, on February 14th, 2022, the Aadhaar Center at Vasai did not accept her form. The church marriage certificate is not appropriate and cannot be accepted for Aadhaar Cards.

The employees highlighted that the woman could either marry under the Special Marriage Act or in front of the Christian Marriage Registrar in Mantralaya or could change her name in the Official Gazette. Maurissa Almeida started gathering information from churches, family members, and friends in Vasai and in Mumbai region. She then understood that she was not the only woman facing this problem. Several other Christian women found it very difficult to change their names after marriage in several important documents like Aadhar Card, Bank accounts, PAN Card, Passport, etc., just to name a few. 

She has requested the High Court to give directives to the Centre and the state to take initiatives to make an official declaration that the church marriage certificate is a valid document and that it will be accepted all over India. On May 2nd, 2022, Ashley Cusher, the lawyer of Maurissa Almeida, said that a church marriage certificate is not accepted as a valid legal document in India and across the globe, which is creating suffering for the community, especially the women. 

Given this scenario, let us all look forward to getting a positive response from the High Court, which will be a sigh of relief for all the Christian couples in India.


Marriage is understood to be a social institution, and a marriage certificate officiates the entire process. It is interesting to know that marriages in social communities in India take place in temples or churches or even mosques, for that matter of fact. Due to religious differences, no community follows a standardised pattern of solemnising marriage, and hence an authorised body has been appointed by the Government of India. Registration of every marriage is a mandate, and couples have been advised to do so.

However, it is important to note that religious bodies like churches or temples endorse a marriage certificate. Still, unfortunately, such a certificate can never be produced as an official one. It is best to follow the given norm of marriage registration if you are an Indian citizen, and experts from the legal field say that such marriage registration certificates are the only valid documents that can be produced. 

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