Refusing to Register a Marriage illegal

Religion not a criterion to refuse registration

Refusal to register a duly solemnised Hindu marriage by the Registrar of Marriages (Common) based on the reason that the mother of the bride belongs to Muslim community is unjust and illegal. This is what the High Court of Kerala says in Lalan PR & Another v Chief Registrar of Marriages (Common) & Another.

Obviously, religion of the parties is not a consideration for registration of marriage. What is important is the solemnisation of the marriage.

When the marriage is solemnized as per Hindu religious custom and rituals, and the documents regarding proof of marriage is produced, there is no justification in refusing registration of marriage by the Registrar.

Bride states she professes Hindu religion

The bride categorically states that she professes Hindu religion and follows culture of the Hindu community. There is no rule which prohibits the registration of marriage simply because the mother of the bride belongs to the Muslim community.

The only condition for the registration of marriage is that the marriage is to be solemnised as the law prescribes.

Not to deny registration on hyper-technical defects

The High Court held that hyper technical defects shall not be raised by the Registrar of marriages while entertaining the application for registration of marriage.

The broad intention of registration of marriage is to protect the rights of the women and the children born in that marriage, as said in the Supreme Court (SC) judgement in Seema v Ashwani Kumar.

The registration does not prove that the marriage is valid or not, but the solemnisation is what is to be taken as the proof of a marriage.

The SC in the judgement adds, “Though, the registration itself cannot be a proof of valid marriage per se, and would not be the determinative factor regarding validity of a marriage, yet it has a great evidentiary value in the matters of custody of children, right of children born from the wedlock of the two persons whose marriage is registered and the age of parties to the marriage”.

For registration file the Memorandum & Form II

In order to register a marriage, the parties have to file a Memorandum for Registration, with two witnesses signed, under Section 9(1) of the Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules, 2008.

In the case of marriages solemnized as per religious rights, the parties seeking registration before the Marriage Registrar has to file a declaration from a Gazetted Officer/ Member of Parliament/ Member of Legislative Assembly / Member of a local body, in Form II prescribed in the above Rules.

On the other hand, in the case of Marriages solemnised before a Marriage Officer, the parties can produce the entries made in the Register of Marriages or any such register as proof of the marriage under section 9(3) of the above Rules.

Further reading

  1. Lalan PR & Another v Chief Registrar of Marriages (Common) & Another :2022 (6) KHC 517