This article is authored by Anindita Deb, a student of Symbiosis Law School, Noida. The objective of this article is to elaborate on the online and offline marriage registration process for Hindu marriages in India under the two legislations that govern Hindu marriages in the country. 

This article has been published by Shoronya Banerjee.


In Indian culture, marriage is regarded as a sacred ceremony. It is a sacred arrangement between two individuals to spend the rest of their lives together. There is no such thing as a small wedding in India. People start planning their children’s weddings as soon as they are born. People go to great lengths to ensure that their families’ weddings are celebrated to the utmost extent possible. Meanwhile, in the midst of all the joy and wedding planning, it is as important to have the marriage legally registered in our nation. This will result in a marriage certificate, which will be required for all joint undertakings between the couple, such as buying property or getting a spouse visa to travel abroad. 

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If things do not go well and one considers opting for a divorce, a marriage certificate is required. Furthermore, if one of the partners passes away, the certificate is quite helpful in obtaining an insurance claim. Registering their marriage is the most important and responsible thing to do after one enters into a marriage.

A marriage certificate is a legal document that certifies the union of two people. Hindu marriages in India are governed by the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 or the Special Marriage Act of 1954, respectively. The Honourable Supreme Court of India, in the year 2006, deemed it mandatory to register a marriage in order to legalise it through the case of Seema v. Ashwani Kumar. With the development of technology, one can also register his or her marriage online from the comfort of their home. This article gives details of the procedure that one needs to follow when registering their marriage through different means and under different legislations. 

Legislations under which a Hindu marriage can be registered in India

Presently, two pieces of legislation have been drafted to address the issue of marriage registration laws with regard to the people who practise the Hindu religion. These legislations are:

  1. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and
  2. The Special Marriage Act, 1954. 

If both husband and wife are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, or Sikhs, or if they have converted to any of these religions, the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 governs marriage registration. It should be remembered that the Hindu Marriage Act only applies to marriages that have previously been solemnised.

The Special Marriage Act of 1954, on the other hand, specifies the procedure for both solemnization and registration of marriages in which either the husband or the wife are not Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, or Sikhs. This is because this legislation carries out the registration of marriage irrespective of the religion of the husband and wife. Hence, unlike personal laws, both husband and wife do not need to belong to the same religion in order to get their marriage registered under the Special Marriage Act.

Marriage registration under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

The Hindu Marriage Act applies to all Indian states and union territories. Many religions, including Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists, are covered by the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. It also applies to people who have converted from a different religion to one of these religions. According to this Act, the bride’s and groom’s ages are the key aspects. While the bride has to be of at least 18 years, the bridegroom must be 21 years or above. This means that no male or female from any of the above-mentioned religions will be able to marry until they reach the aforementioned ages. 

Eligibility to register marriage

Section 2 and Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (HMA) lays down the eligibility criteria for solemnisation and registration of marriage under the Act. 

Under Section 2, the following people are considered to be Hindus for the purpose of the Act and are eligible to register their marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act:

  • Any person who is a Hindu by religion in any of its forms or developments, which includes Virashaiva, a Lingayat or a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj.
  • Any person who is a Buddhist, Jain or Sikh by religion.
  • Any other person domiciled in the territories to which this act extends who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion, unless it is proved that any such person would not have been governed by Hindu law or by any custom or usage as part of that law in respect of any of the matters dealt with herein if this Act had not been passed.

A Hindu marriage can only be solemnised between two Hindus, according to Section 5 of the Act. In the case of M. Vijayakumari v. K. Devabalan (2003), it was decided that a marriage between a Hindu man who converted to Christianity and a Christian lady disguised in Hindu form is not valid.

Section 5 further states the conditions for solemnization of marriage under the Act. It lays down the following conditions in order for the marriage to be eligible for solemnization:

  • Neither party has a living spouse at the time of the marriage.
  • Neither party is incapable of giving valid consent to it in consequence of unsoundness of mind.
  • Though capable of giving valid consent, neither of them has been suffering from a mental disorder of such a kind or to such an extent as to be unfit for marriage and the procreation of children.
  • Neither party has a living spouse at the time of the marriage.
  • At the time of marriage, the bridegroom is at least 21 years old and the bride is at least 18 years old.
  • The parties are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship unless the custom or usage controlling each of them allows for a marriage between the two.
  • The parties are not sapindas (one is a lineal ascendant of the other), unless each party’s custom or usage allows for a marriage between them.

The old recognised customs, smritis, and shrutis provide Hindu personal law with its life and breath, hence it is a key condition for a marriage to be registered after it is completed by the customs of the said specific group or tribe.

What are the degrees of prohibited relationship

Two persons are said to be covered under the degrees of prohibited relationship if –

  • One of them is the lineal ascendant of the other,
  • If one was the wife or husband of lineal ascendant or descendant of the other,
  • If one of them was the wife of the brother or of the father’s or mother’s brother or of the grandfather’s or grandmother’s brother of the other,
  • If the two are brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, or children of brother and sister or of two brothers or of two sisters.

A marriage that falls into one of the aforementioned criteria is considered null and void.


Here, customs play a vital role- if the parties have a valid custom governing them, they can marry even though they fall within the prohibited relationship degrees.


A marriage solemnised between the parties within the degrees of prohibited relationship is considered null and void. The parties to such a marriage may face simple imprisonment for one month, a fine of Rs. 10,000/- or both under the provisions of Section 18(b) of the Hindu Marriage Act. 

Solemnisation of Hindu marriage under Section 7 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

By virtue of Section 7, the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 deals with the ceremonies that must be observed in a Hindu marriage. A Hindu marriage may be solemnised according to either party’s conventional rituals and customs, according to the provision.

After the Saptapadi (the taking of seven steps by the bridegroom and the bride together before the sacred fire) is included in such rites and ceremonies, the marriage becomes complete and binding when the seventh step is taken. Other essentials for solemnization of marriage under this Section are as follows:

  • Any language spoken by any party to the marriage must be understood by both parties.
  • Each party to the marriage must place the ring on the other’s finger.
  • The tying of the thali.

Registration of marriage under Section 8 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

Under Section 8 of the Hindu Marriage Act, the following is stated:

  • The state government makes the provision available as proof to Hindus so that they can enter into a legitimate marriage in the prescribed manner.
  • All rules developed under this Section must be presented to the state legislature as soon as they are made. 
  • The Hindu marriage registrar has all the powers and a reasonable amount of time to review the documents, collect evidence, and certify them after payment of a fee.

Offline Hindu marriage registration procedure in India 

Registration of marriage can be a complex task for a lot of people. Hence, it is better to be informed about all the steps to be followed along the way, and what all documents one will need in the process. Marriage can be registered online or offline, and all the details with respect to both procedures have been laid down below for you to have a hassle-free marriage registration experience. Following is the list of questions one has during the marriage registration process along with the answers to them:

Where does one have to go to register their marriage

In order to get your marriage registered offline under the Hindu Marriage Act, your marriage needs to be solemnised before the registration. Hence, after solemnisation of marriage, one has to visit the office of the Sub-Divisional Magistrates (SDM) in whose jurisdiction either the husband or the wife resides, between 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on any working day, along with his or her spouse and two witnesses. There you will be provided with the marriage registration form in which you have to fill out all the relevant details and submit it back to the SDM.  

Documents one should carry while going to register their marriage

Given below are the documents the husband, wife, and the witnesses must carry with themselves for the marriage registration procedure, along with the duly filled marriage registration application form.

Identity proof of both husband and wife

  • Aadhaar card,
  • PAN card,
  • Ration card with photograph,
  • Voter ID card,
  • Passport,
  • Driving license,
  • Any other government recognised document.

Date of birth proof of both husband and wife

  • Aadhaar card (Verified DOB),
  • Passport,
  • Driving license,
  • Nursing home / hospital report,
  • SSC from the recognised board by Government of India,
  • Birth certificate,
  • Certificate from school signed by principal on school letter head,
  • CMO (Chief Medical Officer) / doctor report.

Separate address proof before the marriage of both husband and wife

  • Aadhaar card,
  • Voter ID card,
  • Driving license,
  • Passport,
  • Ration card,
  • Electricity bill,
  • Water bill,
  • Gas bill,
  • Telephone bill,
  • Rent agreement,
  • Bank passbook,
  • Any other government-issued document.

Address proof after marriage

  • Aadhaar card,
  • Voter ID card,
  • Driving licence,
  • Passport,
  • Ration card,
  • Electricity bill,
  • Water bill,
  • Gas bill,
  • Telephone bill,
  • Rent agreement,
  • Bank passbook,
  • Any other government-issued document.

Identity proof of witnesses

  • Aadhaar card,
  • PAN card,
  • Ration card with photograph,
  • Voter ID card,
  • Passport,
  • Driving license,
  • Any other Government recognised document.

Permanent resident proof of witness

  • Aadhaar card,
  • Voter ID card,
  • Driving license,
  • Passport,
  • Ration card,
  • Electricity bill,
  • Water bill,
  • Gas bill,
  • Telephone bill,
  • Rent agreement,
  • Bank passbook,
  • Any other government-issued document.

Additional documents/requirements (to be submitted by husband and wife)

  • Both the husband and the wife must sign an affidavit confirming the location and date of their marriage, their dates of birth, their marital status at the time of marriage, and their nationality.
  • Two passport-size photographs of both husband and wife are required, as well as one wedding photograph.
  • If one is available, a wedding invitation card must be submitted.
  • A certificate from the priest who solemnised the marriage is necessary if the marriage was solemnised in a religious setting.
  • The marriage registration fee of Rs. 100/- must be deposited with the District Cashier, and the receipt must be attached to the application form.
  • Affirmation that both the parties are not related to one other in a degree of relationship that is prohibited under the Hindu Marriage Act.
  • In the event of a divorcee, an attestation copy of the divorce decree/order, and in the case of a widow/widower, an attestation copy of the spouse’s death certificate.
  • A conversion document from the priest who solemnised the marriage if one of the spouses does not belong to the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, or Sikh religions.

Steps to be followed to get a Hindu marriage registered offline

One can follow the steps mentioned below in order to get their marriage registered under the Hindu Marriage Act:

  • Visit a nearby SDM office to obtain the Marriage Certificate Form.
  • Fill out that form carefully and correctly.
  • The bride’s new name or surname if it was changed after the marriage, must be indicated.
  • In the Special Marriage Act, two witnesses are required. Witnesses can be family members or friends who were present at the wedding.
  • The witnesses must next sign the documents and provide their personal information.
  • In all of the paperwork, a spouse’s signature is also required.
  • In addition, a wedding photograph must be included with the invitation card.
  • Both husband and wife must submit address proof to the SDM Office.
  • All the details must be checked carefully before submitting the registration application from along with all the other relevant documents to the SDM office.
  • The married couple should keep a copy of the application with themselves. 

How long will it take to receive a marriage certificate

In case of a marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, it normally takes 15 days to receive a response from the Sub-Divisional Magistrate’s office with regards to the issuance of a marriage certificate, and the date is notified to the couple to be present at the SDM office. On the said day, both parties, along with a Gazetted Officer who attended their marriage, need to be present before the ADM. The Certificate is issued on the same day.

However, this waiting period can extend up to 60 days in the case of a marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The details with respect to the procedure for registration under this Act have been discussed properly in the following section. 

Hindu marriage registration procedure under the Special Marriage Act, 1954

In case a couple does not want to get married according to Hindu rituals, or one of the two individuals is not a Hindu, the couple may choose to register their marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The marriage registration process is similar to that under the Hindu Marriage Act, with the exception that the registration fee submitted under this Act is Rs. 150. Additionally, three witnesses have to be present on the day of solemnization and registration. In the case of offline registration of marriage, the time for receiving a response from the SDM office regarding the marriage certificate under the Special Marriage Act is up to 60 days. Additionally, there is no requirement for a conversion certificate if the parties belong to different religions. Both the husband and wife can continue practicing their personal religions after they get married without having to convert to a single religion if they opt to register their marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. If a couple does not wish to have a wedding ceremony, it is possible for them to opt for solemnization of their marriage along with marriage registration under this Act. along with the SDMs, the Additional District Magistrates (ADMs) and the Deputy Commissioners have been assigned as marriage officers for the purpose of solemnisation. The process for solemnisation of marriage under this Act has been discussed below.

Procedure for solemnisation of a marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954

The entire procedure of solemnisation of marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, can be easily understood from the pointers listed below. 

  • Following the submission of documentation indicating the issuance of a notice of intended marriage, both parties must be present for the solemnisation of the marriage. 
  • The SDM pastes a copy of the notification on the office noticeboard. 
  • Any person has 30 days from the date of the notice to raise an objection to the proposed marriage. In this situation, the SDM will not solemnise the marriage until he has resolved the objection, which must be done within 30 days of receiving it. 
  • Any of the parties may submit an appeal to the District Court within 30 days if the SDM refuses to solemnise the marriage. If no objections are received within 30 days of the notice, the SDM will solemnise the marriage.

Online Hindu marriage registration procedure in India

Marriage registration in some Indian states can also be done online, just like many other essential services in India these days. Online registration is preferable since it saves time and trouble, and it eliminates the need to stand in long lines, which is incredibly significant in these times of social distancing. It eliminates the need for several appointments with the marriage registrar. Different states have their respective portals for registering a marriage online. Given below is the procedure for registering a Hindu marriage online. For the purposes of this article and providing an easier understanding of the procedure, the example of Delhi’s marriage registration portal has been used.

Step-by-step procedure to get your Hindu marriage registered online (in Delhi)

  1. The newly married husband and wife have to visit the Official site of Delhi to book an appointment from the e-district site –
  2. In the home page of the website itself, you will see an option that reads “Registration of Marriage.” A screenshot has been attached below for reference.
  1. You have to register yourself if you are visiting this site for the first time, for the consequent visits you can use your login credentials which you had created when you registered yourself. 
  1. Once you have successfully registered yourself, select the district where the husband or the wife resides. 
  2. Fill out the marriage certificate form with all of the details, including the day of marriage, location, the bride and groom’s personal information, witnesses, and the appointment date.
  3. Once this step is complete, you will be required to upload the documents.
  4. Then complete and submit the application form.
  5. Following the submission of the application form, the instructions and confirmation page will be displayed.
  6. Then obtain a hard copy of the confirmation.
  7. The spouse must gather all of the essential paperwork, which are listed above in this article.
  8. The affidavit must be submitted in the format specified; you can download the affidavit form pdf for this purpose. The link for the same can be accessed here
  9. Along with the documents, a hard copy of the application form will be given to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate’s office, where all paperwork will be validated.
  10. You can complete the necessary procedures in the SDM’s office.
  11. You will then be able to obtain your marriage certificate.

Importance of obtaining a marriage certificate

A marriage certificate is a legal document that establishes a couple’s marital status. It is a crucial document that can be used to verify that you are legally married to someone, as well as for a variety of other things. A marriage certificate is essentially legal proof of a marriage’s registration. It is a significant document on which one can rely to establish that they are lawfully married to someone, as well as for a variety of other purposes, some of which are mentioned as under: 

  • For the purposes of changing one’s maiden name.
  • For opening a new bank account.
  • For getting a passport or a visa.
  • For applying for a certificate of income.
  • To obtain the insurance payout.
  • To claim assets if your name appears in a will with a relationship, among other factors.

Purpose served by a marriage certificate

Starting out, the very first and most basic purpose served by the marriage certificate is proving the status of marriage, so that neither the husband nor the wife can commit bigamy. The marriage certificate ensures that the husband and wife both have equal rights within the marriage. It also includes the wife in matters of availing rights of heritage. Ever since the Supreme Court has made it compulsory to obtain a marriage certificate, instances of social evils like bigamy and child marriage have reduced. It also avoids cases of fraud marriages, which is a very common phenomenon in NRI marriages where the husband leaves the wife stranded and runs off to a foreign country with all the money and property received in the form of dowry. 


A Hindu marriage in India can be registered under either the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 or the Special Marriage Act of 1954. The Hindu Marriage Act only applies to Hindus, whereas the Special Marriage Act covers all Indian citizens, regardless of religion. The Hindu Marriage Act allows for the registration of a marriage that has previously been solemnised, but not for the solemnisation of a marriage by a marriage registrar. The Special Marriage Act, on the other hand, allows for both solemnisation and registration by a Marriage Officer. With the advancement of technology, it has now become possible to register marriage online, which eliminates the frequent visits to the marriage registrar’s office. Just follow a few simple steps and one visit to the SDM office after registering your marriage online will get you your marriage certificate. 

As clearly established in the article, obtaining a marriage certificate after solemnization is very essential. It not only establishes the legal validity of your marriage but protects women and underage children from being exploited under the institution of marriage. The compulsory registration of marriage has helped prevent instances of child marriage and NRI marriage frauds to a great extent. Hence, it is very important for one to get his or her marriage registered so that there are no future conflicts in issues like inheritance, ownership of property, and other such issues that arise after marriage.


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