Court marriage and marriage registration are two important legal concepts under family law. In this article, we’ve undertaken to explain both these concepts and the requirements for each.
Court marriages differ greatly from traditional marriages, which typically take place in front of all family members and relatives while adhering to customary rituals. On the other hand, court marriages are typically performed in the presence of a marriage officer. In a court marriage, any two eligible people can marry in the presence of three witnesses. There is no need for any rituals to be performed to formalise the marriage. The presence of a marriage officer and three witnesses is sufficient.
The most important aspect of court marriage is that it adheres to the rules and regulations of the Special Marriage Act of 1954. Moreover, court marriage allows individuals of different genders, regardless of caste or religion, to marry each other. It is not even required that both individuals be Indian nationals. One Indian national and one foreign national may also be married.
A marriage registration certificate is an official testimony which states that two people are married. In India, marriages can be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. For both types of marriages, a marriage registration certificate is a legal testimony that a couple is married. In 2006, the Supreme Court made it compulsory to register marriages to preserve women’s rights. Hence, obtaining a marriage registration certificate after marriage can have many benefits.
A marriage registration certificate is required when applying for a passport or opening a new bank account with a new surname following a marriage. In addition, many embassies require a copy of the marriage registration certificate when applying for a visa or travelling abroad. Hence if a couple moves abroad after marriage, a marriage registration certificate is required.
Rules and Regulations of a Court Marriage in India:
- The intended spouses should have no pre-existing marriage. The only exception is if the previous spouse is no longer alive or if divorce has been granted to them.
- Free consent for the court marriage should be given by both parties. Consent should not be taken when the person is insane, unsound mind etc.
- Both parties should be of an eligible age to get a court marriage. The boy should be at least 21 years old and the girl should be 18 years old.
- Both the parties to the court marriage should not be related to each other under the forbidden degrees of marriage. Such marriage is solemnized only if one of the party’s customs allows it.
Rules and Regulations on Marriage Registration in India
- Neither party should have a legally recognised spouse living at the time of the wedding.
- Neither party should have given consent due to unsoundness of mind. Though both parties are capable of giving valid consent, neither of them should be suffering from any kind of mental disorder.
- Neither of them should be subjected to recurrent attacks of epilepsy or insanity.
- The bride should be 18 years old and the groom should be 21 years old at the time of marriage.
- The parties should be not within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the custom or tradition governing each of them permits a wedding between the two.
- The parties are not lineal descendants of the other (sapindas), unless the custom or tradition prevailing permits marriage between the two.
Documents Required for a Court Marriage:
- Application form duly signed by both the bride and groom
- Proof of date of birth of both the bride and groom
- Residential address proof
- Receipt of fees paid along with the application form.
- 2 passport size photographs of both the bride and groom.
- Copy of divorce decree or order in the case of a divorcee and death certificate of spouse in case of a widow or widower.
- Affidavit one each from both the bride and groom. The affidavit must consist of the following information – Date of birth
- Marital status (unmarried, divorced, or widowed)
- A statement confirming that both the parties are not related to each other under any kind of prohibited degree of relationship.
Documents Required for Marriage Registration:
Wedding Invitation or temple marriage receipts or any proof of marriage solemnization.
Identity & Address Proof
Employee ID card or ration card or driving license or visa or passport
Birth certificate or school or college certificate or visa or passport.
To download your marriage certification online, you can click the TNREGINET official website of Tamil Nadu.