Registration of Marriage even after both Died or Divorced

Rules provide for registration even after one dies

Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules of 2008 allow registration of marriage and issue of marriage certificates even after one of the life partners dies. The law is silent on whether it is possible to register a marriage when both the life partners are not alive.

However, there have been some cases in which the marriage has been registered and certificate was issued after the demise of both the husband and the wife, in one case, and after the couple got a divorce decree from a court despite having no prior registration of marriage, in another case.

Marriage registered after 53 years after the death of both

A couple, who had not registered their marriage officially as it was not mandatory when they got married, have got it officially registered 53 years after their wedding, and years after their passing away, The Hindu daily reports on 25th May 2022.

In this case, C. Bhaskaran Nair and T. Kamalam, natives of Sekharipuram in Palakkad, had got married at the Subramaniam Swamy temple at Kodumb on June 4, 1969. However, they had not registered their marriage as it was not mandatory then. Kamalam passed away in 1998 and Bhaskaran Nair in 2015, after which the family pension for ex-service persons ceased being credited to their only son T. Gopakumar.

The pension was held up citing that Bhaskaran Nair’s family details were not available in the military records. Following this, Mr. Gopakumar submitted a request to the government for registration of his parents’ marriage. As per the Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules of 2008, marriage can be registered, if either the husband or the wife has passed away. However, it does not specify the rules in cases where both the husband and wife are dead.

Minister for Local Self-Government Institutions M.V. Govindan intervened in the issue after consulting the Law department. It was decided to allow the registration of marriage in this case as registration was not mandatory when their marriage happened and also because the 2008 rules do not specify the steps to be followed in cases where both the husband and wife are not alive.

Marriage registered after 15 years after the couple divorced

In a rare case, the Local Self-Government department in Kerala has facilitated a marriage registration 15 years after the separation of the couple to enable a woman to claim her father’s ex-service family pension. As per the norms, for a woman to claim her father’s ex-service family pension, she has to produce the marriage registration certificate along with the divorce certificate, The Hindu daily reports on 30th November 2022.

However, the couple who got registered at the SNDP Community Hall at Vandanam in Alappuzha district on February 2, 2003 had not officially registered their marriage. They were later legally separated as per the decree of divorce passed by the Ettumanur Family Court on September 14, 2007. When she submitted the divorce certificate to claim her father’s Army pension, she was asked to submit the wedding registration certificate too.

As per the Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules, 2008, both the husband and the wife have to sign on the registration application. However, her former husband was not ready to appear in person or sign on the application as the divorce had already happened. Pointing these facts out, the panchayat registrar had rejected an earlier request from the woman to register the marriage. Following this, her brother submitted another application to the LSG department (Rural) Director, who is also the Chief Registrar General.

In case one of the partners is dead, the registration can be done using the signature of the surviving person. However, the rules do not specify the process in cases where the divorce has happened, and both the former partners are alive.

Therefore, the State government put out a special order in this case considering the fact that the family court could have approved the divorce only if the marriage had legally happened. The government also took into consideration the fact that registration was not compulsory when the marriage happened.

The woman submitted the application at the Ambalapuzha North panchayat office on Tuesday morning and got the marriage registration certificate.


In similar circumstances the persons in need of marriage registration certificate can approach the authorities and the authorities in turn can issue the certificate citing these cases and orders governing them.

Further reading

  1. A rare marriage registration, after the couples’ death
  2. A marriage registration, 15 years after divorce in Kerala
  3. Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules of 2008