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This article is written by Bhumika Dandona from the School of Law, Sushant University (erstwhile Ansal University), Gurgaon. In this article, she delves into the importance of the Birth Certificate. Further, the author writes about the procedure for issuing the delayed birth certificate and reissuing the birth certificate in India. She finally concludes by stating the reasons for the low birth registration rate in India and what could be possibly done to improve this problem.


Admission to pre-school, entry into the best university out there, or getting a job into a well-reputed company are milestones in the lives of everyone. Whether small or big, that is subject to one’s interpretation. You must be aware that these events require some legal documents to affect them. One such documentation is the birth certificate. Now, you probably know what a birth certificate is, but like many others, you too may be a stranger as to the significance it carries. It is this lack of understanding that often leads people into developing a casual mindset towards their certificate and losing it. Either this or they are unable to keep it in intact condition. This article seeks to explain the importance of a birth certificate. It further provides information on how to acquire the same once again, if not available or usable anymore. The article concludes by talking about why the birth registration rate in India is low and what steps could be possibly taken to improve this problem. 

Meaning of Birth Certificate 

A Birth certificate refers to a legally approved and permanent record of an individual’s existence. This certificate, furnished at the time of their birth, gives rise to the legal identity of that person. It is a result of the process called birth registration, through which their existence officially comes under the acknowledgement of the country’s law. The concerned State authorities issue it to the person once all the procedures are complete. Generally, the contents of a birth certificate consist of the following details:

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  • Full name of the person;
  • Date of their birth;
  • Time of their birth;
  • Sex of the person; 
  • Name of the parents; 
  • Place of birth; 
  • Registration number; 
  • Address at the time of their birth. 

Benefits and importance of Birth Certificate

As previously mentioned, you will run into various situations in life wherein you will require your birth certificate, such as for admission to educational institutions, evidence of age for marriage and employment purposes, enrolment in electoral ballots, registering for the National Population Register (NPR) and so on. Not only that, but it also ensures you have primary social services of governmental health care and justice. Thus, to make the presence of these things certain in your life, the issuance of a birth certificate becomes necessary. 

Without your birth certificate, the authorities will not recognise you as an Indian citizen, thereby preventing you from availing yourself of all the rights that the law of the land grants to its citizens. Without having the right to, let’s say, education or employment, you will be unable to earn a livelihood. It will push you into poverty. You will also be more likely to be thrown out of the country if you fail to acquire approved citizenship. Now you know one of the reasons why a lot of people are beggarly in India and several others have to leave the nation. 

Another right, which will shock you, is that of driving. Yes, without your birth certificate, you will not be able to acquire your driving license. It is well known that in present times, driving has its own significance for logical causes. Vehicles are turning out to be a requirement for almost everyone. These points are enough to make you appreciate the significance of a birth certificate.

The legal framework for birth registration

In India, the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 seeks to administer the registration of births and deaths. Talking about it regarding the context in question, the Act makes it mandatory to get the births recorded with the concerned authority, that is, the Registrar. 

It states that the births have to be registered only at the place of their occurrence. The Act further mentions that this has to be done within the time limit so specified, that is, twenty-one days. A failure to do so would invite the payment of a penalty. Also, in such cases, the births will be registered either within thirty days, within one year (through written approval of authority so prescribed), or after one year only on the instructions of a first-class Magistrate. 

The legislation also calls for the formation of registration rules by each state, given the country’s population. These require endorsement by the Central Government before the state governments begin with the implementation process. So, the rules in this regard may be different in every state, although it is a rare possibility. It all depends on the nature of births recorded in a specific territory. 

The procedure for issuance of a Birth Certificate

In urban areas, the Municipal Corporation (or the Municipal Council) furnishes the birth certificate. In rural areas, it is the Tehsildar at the Taluka level that furnishes the birth certificate. As for the villages, the body that provides the same is the Gram Panchayat. So if you haven’t got your birth registration done till now, then follow the below-mentioned steps to get your birth certificate issued at the earliest:

Offline mode

Pay a visit to the concerned authorities at your place of birth, as per what the preceding paragraph states. Have a word with the presiding Registrar or the Health Officer regarding the issuance of the birth certificate. They will then either give you an application form to fill or furnish an affidavit under their letterhead. 

Online mode

  • First, get yourself registered to the official website of the Municipal Corporation. Remember, the Corporation is different for every state. Keep your voter ID card or any other identification proof in handy because it is essential for the registration process.
  • After the registration is complete, login and click on ‘the services’. You will see the option of ‘issuance of delayed birth order’. Click on it and download the form. Then fill it up, writing down all the information that is required from you.
  • Upload all the vital documents. Pay the amount for getting your birth registered and then submit the form.
  • You will come across an auto-generated receipt number. Download the same and keep it with yourself. It will help you check the status of your birth certificate later on. 

The procedure for reissuance of birth certificate

As mentioned in the beginning, everyone has lost their birth certificate at some point in time, and it is not at all astonishing. People only realise it when there’s a requirement for that certificate. You are one of those people, which is why you are here, reading this article. But there’s no need to worry because reissuing a birth certificate is simple and easy. For acquiring the replacement certificate, you need to apply for the same. This application is the Non-Availability of Birth Certificate (NABC). 

Details required for obtaining replacement certificate

To obtain a replacement birth certificate, you must have the following details ready with you:

  • Full birth name;
  • Full names of parents;
  • Day and date of birth; 
  • Place of birth.

Eligibility to obtain a replacement certificate 

According to the law, only those individuals mentioned below are eligible to obtain your birth certificate apart from you:-

  • Husband or wife;
  • Parents;
  • Grandparents;
  • Siblings; 
  • Natural guardian, as permitted legally.

Steps for obtaining replacement certificate

  • Drop by at the Municipal Corporation of the place where you were born. They must be having the accounts of your birth. It may be so that the place where you were born has different Municipal units. In such cases, you will have to approach the department present in that specific area of your birth.
  • Then, you will have to pay a small fee for getting your birth certificate reissued. Note that the amount differs in every state. 
  • After paying the fees, the department will give you the form you will have to fill up cautiously, writing all the necessary details. The office will provide you with a receipt of the same. They will further give you instructions on when you will get the certificate.

Tips to ensure a hassle-free process

Following are some useful tips to ensure a hassle-free issuance process:

  • People generally do not know when to pay a visit to the zonal Municipal Corporation office. It is better to confirm the timings beforehand so that you end up there at the right time. It will save you a lot of time which you can utilise in doing other work. 
  • You must know that a Municipal Corporation office is a big building with multiple floors and rooms. Having the correct information about where you will have to go and file the application for issuing the replacement certificate would be a good idea. 
  • Carrying along with you the attested photocopies of the required documents, such as voter ID cards, Aadhar cards, etc., would prevent you from making unnecessary rounds of the office.
  • Make sure to carry up to date and accurate details and documents to apply for the replacement certificate. It would prevent errors in the certificate and again, help you avoid numerous rounds to the office. 
  • Be prepared to stand in those long queues before the entrance of the Municipal Corporation office. Many people approach the office daily, either regarding school admissions or other governmental procedures. Thus, despite being ready to issue the replacement certificate at the correct time, you will lose out a bit of time anyway.


It is surprising to see that India has had a low birth registration rate since the advent of the registration system in the country. It is despite the signs that the birth certificate holds and the simple issuance process. Various factors are responsible for the same, for example, lack of public awareness, reduced demand for the certificate for official purposes, etc. An increasing number of alternate documents such as the School Leaving Certificate (SLC), voter ID cards, and so on is yet another reason that explains this problem. Employers, school administrations and other authorities use these documentations as proof of date and place of birth. But the issue here is that the foundation of such paperwork is unsubstantial information. Therefore, they may not be not as reliable as a birth certificate. 

Apart from the low birth registration rate, several already furnished certificates have a lot of errors in them. It is because the Civil Registration Machinery has not taken any action for the prevailing circumstances till date. Also, several government departments have been unsuccessful in bringing the registrars to their task. It is why people often get their certificates reissued. But there are various ways to resolve these nuisances. The concerned authorities should monitor the work of registrars so that they do not deviate from their duties. It will be beneficial to link the registration of the birth certificate with that of the official services. The government also needs to realise the potential of correct information in collecting data for research purposes. With an adequate amount of data regarding every birth, the state governments can ensure everyone’s inclusion in essential programmes such as State Immunization Programme, Midday meal scheme, etc.

Other than that, state governments should allocate sufficient budgets for the implementation of all these programmes. Another crucial step in this regard is proper training for the personnel involved in the related departments. It will make sure that no errors take place. All these ways will help in promoting the use of birth certificates. Further, it will encourage people to reissue theirs in case of unavailability or non-usability of the same. Bringing these possible solutions to effect will surely impart a positive change to the current system and the issuing or reissuing of birth certificates.


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