Registration of Marriages in Kerala

Marriages need to be compulsorily registered

The marriages in Kerala are governed by personal laws such as Hindu, Christian, and Muslim marriage laws. but the registration of such marriages is governed by common rules: The Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules, 2008.

It was the Supreme Court which in Seema v Aswani Kumar [2006 (1) KLT 791 (SC)] issued direction to all state Governments to formulate Rules for compulsory registration of marriages, irrespective of religion of the parties.

All marriages solemnized in the state, after enactment of the above rules, must compulsory be registered irrespective of the religion of the parties who involved in the marriage.

In fact, solemnisation is the crux of marriage and the registration is done in order to have a record of marriages solemnised.

Registrar of marriages (Common)

The marriage must be registered with the Local Registrar (Common) within the area of whose jurisdiction the marriage is solemnized.

The Secretary of the Gram Panchayat or the Health Inspector of the Municipality or Health Officer of the Municipal Corporation, who performs as the Registrar of Birth and Death in the respective area, is the Local Registrar of Marriages (Common).

If a marriage needs to be registered compulsory under any other law that need not be registered under these rules. Such marriages shall be registered under the respective statute.

The marriage, the registration of which is optional under any other law, need not be registered under these rules, if it is already registered under such laws. If it is not registered under such rules, such a marriage can be registered under these rules.

The local registrar shall maintain a Register of Marriages (Common) in Form III, as per these rules.

Parties to file a memorandum of marriage

The parties to a marriage shall prepare a Memorandum of Marriage in duplicate in Form I, with three sets of photos, and shall submit it to the Local Register within a period of 45 days from the date of solemnization of their marriage.

The Memorandum may be signed by both the parties to the marriage and two other persons who witnessed the solemnisation of marriage.

Proof of solemnisation of marriage

If the marriage is solemnized before a Marriage Officer under any statutory provision, the entries made in the register of marriages or any other register maintained for the purpose and certified by the marriage officer will be treated as the document in proof of solemnisation of marriage.

In the case of marriage solemnised as per religious rites a copy of the Certificate of Marriage issued by the religious authority concerned or a declaration from a Gazetted Officer, Member of Parliament, Member of Legislative Assembly, or the Member of local government institution in Form No II may be the document in proof of the marriage.

A fee of Rupees 100 shall be payable along with the submission of the Memorandum of Marriage, for the purpose of registration.

Registration even after one party dies

If either the husband or the wife is dead, the other spouse alive can file a Memorandum of Marriage with signatures of two witnesses to the Marriage, to the Registrar with sufficient documents to prove the solemnization of marriage and the Registrar shall register the marriage.

Delayed registration of marriage

If registration of marriage is sought after 45 days of the conduct of marriage but within one year, such marriage can be registered by the Local Register by imposing a fine of Rupees 100/-.

If the registration is sought after one year, the marriage can be registered with the permission of the Registrar General and a payment of a fine of Rupees 250/ with the certificates from a Gazetted Officer, Member of Parliament, Member of Legislative Assembly, or Member of the Local Government.

The Registrar General may make necessary enquiries through Local Registrar or otherwise and give suitable direction to the Local Registrar regarding registration of the marriage.

Mode of marriage registration

On receiving the Memorandum in Form 1 and the fee for registration, the Local Registrar shall verify the entries in the Memorandum for accuracy and completeness and enter the particulars in the Register of Marriages (Common) maintained in Form III.

Parties must come and sign the register

The parties shall appear before the Local Registrar at least once and put their signature in the Register of Marriages. Thereafter the Local Registrar shall record in the Marriage Register that the marriage has been registered and put his signature and office seal which marks the registration of marriage.

The registration may be done with in one week from the date of filing the Memorandum. The Certificate of Marriage shall be given in form IV.

If returned or rejected the reason will be informed

If the memorandum is not in proper form and/ or without required fee, it shall be rejected and the matter should be intimated to the parties.

In case, the marriage cannot be registered, then the Local Registrar shall record it in the Memorandum and inform the parties the reason.

Correction or cancellation of entries

The Local Registrar, on application by parties, can correct any entry in form and substance, or can cancel any entry in the Register by noting the evidence in the margin of the Register without any alteration of the original entry.

But all material particulars like name, age, date etc shall be corrected after hearing the concerned parties with the sanction of the Registrar General. The fee for correction or cancellation is Rupees 100/-

Appeal or revision by parties

An appeal in this regard shall lie to the Registrar General within 3 months from the communication of the order.

Again a revision on such appellate decision shall lie to the Chief Registrar General within 3 months from the date of communication of the order of Registrar General.

The government shall not accept any certificate of marriage by any authority other than the one duly authorised by these rules, for any purpose since the formulation of the rules in 2008.

Registrar need not inquire into the religion of parties

The High Court of Kerala in Najma v Registrar General of Marriages, Thiruvananthapuram says there is no bar under the Kerala Registration of Marriage (Common) Rules, 2008 in registering any marriage solemnised within the state, even if one of the parties is a foreign national.

The Rule 6 of the above said marriage rules indicates that all marriage solemnised within the state should compulsory be registered, irrespective of religion of the parties. Nowhere in the Rules is there any insistence about nationality of the parties contracting the marriage.

Divorce needs to be recorded in Marriage Register

The High Court of Kerala in Jithin Varghese Prakash v Registrar of Marriage, Piravom Municipality [2019 (4) KHC 39], has held that the Registrar of marriages is bound to record divorce in the Register maintained by him acting upon the divorce ordered by a competent court.

The High Court added that the authority given to an Officer to register marriage, includes the authority to add, amend, vary, or rescind the registration of marriage also, under the General Clauses Act.

Further reading

  1. Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules, 2008