Marriages in India involve a lot of customs and pomp and show. There is a perception that a marriage after being solemnised as per the rituals, need not get registered. Even though registration of a marriage is not mandatory in India, but a marriage certificate gives a legal recognition to your marriage. It not only acts as an evidence in the court of law but also gives a sense of security, if in case any untoward situation arises. On registration of marriage, one gets a marriage certificate which acts as a proof of the marriage, its date, time and place. It is duly attested by two witnesses which adds on to its evidentiary value.
India is a land of variety of religions and each religion has its own ethics and law. A marriage is registered under the personal laws, depending upon the religion of the couple. For instance, the marriage of a Hindu couple gets registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. But in case of an inter caste marriage, it gets registered under the Special Marriage Act.
The Supreme Court in the case of Seema Vs. Ashwani Kumar (2006) pointed out the importance of registration of marriage and stated that in order to protect the rights of the women, a marriage must be registered in the state in which it is solemnised. But, despite of this marriages continue in India without registration as no formal law has been passed on it. Only a few states have made marriage registration mandatory. These include- Himachal Pradesh, UP, etc. But there are few benefits which need to be noted which indicate the importance of the registration of a marriage. These include-
Passport and Visa Facilities
Marriage certificate eases the process of getting a passport. A marriage certificate is also required for visa formalities in case the husband is staying abroad. In some countries, work permit is not granted if the marriage certificate is not present.
Marriage certificate is an evidence of solemnisation of marriage. Whenever the marriage of a couple is called in question in the court of law, marriage certificate comes to the rescue.
If the spouse passes away without nominee
If the spouse passes away without assigning you as his nominee, marriage certificate acts as an evidence and gives security. You can claim the benefits of Life Insurance, family pension, bank deposits with the help of a marriage certificate.
Aids the government Authorities
Registration of marriage aids the government authorities to keep a track on child marriages and marriages that are contracted forcefully.
In awry situations like divorce and maintenance claims
If in case the marriage doesn’t work, the court asks for a marriage certificate to decide upon the issues of child custody, maintenance. The court may stress upon seeing a marriage certificate to decide the issue of inheritance of property,child custody, etc.
Joint Bank Accounts
In order to open a joint bank account, a marriage certificate is required. In case the couple wishes to take a bank loan, where one partner is co-borrower, then also a marriage certificate comes in handy.
Probation of will
A marriage certificate is a very important document which helps you in getting the items left by your deceased husband in his will.
In order to get a share in the spouse’s property after his/her death, it is important to get the marriage registered.
Protects the rights of the women
A marriage certificate helps in protecting the rights of the women. Specially in the case of NRI marriages when the couple needs to settle abroad after marriage. Foreign embassies check the marriage certificate before granting the visa. It also helps the women in making claims against her husband if he fails to take care of her. The story of Gurpreet can be taken as an example here. Gurpreet got married to Manpreet in Punjab who was an NRI living in Canada. Soon after the marriage, he left for Canada without taking Gurpreet along and with promises that he will send her visa soon. But even after 4 years of marriage, no visa was sent. Gurpreet’s marriage was not registered which made it difficult for her to get a divorce and claim maintenance from her husband. It also helps in the situations of polygamy. So, in order to avoid a situation like Gurpreet’s it is important to get a marriage registered.
A marriage certificate enriches the confidence of the woman. It acts as a security and acts as a formalisation of the promise of marriage.
It is true that marriages are made in heaven but in order to make them work on earth it is important to exercise one’s right. So, it is imperative to get it registered with the help of a lawyer to avoid any unfortunate situation in the future.