In India the institution of marriage is considered as pure sacrament. There have been number of debates and discussions on the fact that whether marriage is a contract or religious institution. In India a religious marriage ceremony is considered to be legally valid. However, getting the marriage registered helps in proving the marriage to be valid under the court of law.
Registration of marriage becomes necessary when it comes to the social security of a woman. A registered marriage ensures that the rights of a woman are not curtailed as a registered marriage helps a woman in claiming her legal rights. In the absence of registration women are exploited at times as the conditions of a legal marriage are not fulfilled. Therefore, it is always recommended to get a marriage registered as it ensures legal security.
It is true that in India registering a marriage is not compulsory at central level; still there are certain states that have made marriage registration compulsory on the state level like as in the state of Uttar Pradesh where it is compulsory to get a marriage registered. Marriage is a subject that comes under the concurrent list in 7th schedule of the Indian Constitution. Therefore, both centre and state have the authority to make laws on matters relating to marriage but as marriage is a religious institution and personal customs for the same varies from state to state, the authority to make laws on marriage is given to the state legislatures. In the case of Seema v. Ashwani Kumar, the hon’ble Supreme Court directed different states to formulate laws regarding registration of marriage at state level.

According to Hindu law, registration of a marriage is not compulsory unless and until the state makes it so.
As per Muslim law, marriage is a contract, hence registration is a prerequisite for validating their marriage i.e. Nikah. If Muslims marry in accordance with the Sharia law, registration and Nikah Namas receive evidence of their legality. According to the Indian Christian Marriage Act, Christian marriages must be solemnised and registration of the same is compulsory. The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act govern the marriages solemnized under this act, and it is necessary to register the marriage under this act.

When a marriage is registered it is bound by the laws. In other words, the legitimacy of the marriage is established by way of registration. In India, most of the marriages have led subjecting women to feudalism, physical and mental harassment, and a number of other societal problems. In those circumstances that woman becomes helpless if her marriage is not registered as she might not be given the same protection by law that would have given to a registered marriage. A registered marriage not only provides social security but also gives legal protection. Now-a-days, many frauds are happening related to marriages in which a fraudster marries a person and then abscond with the money and valuables. Such frauds might not have happened or could have been prevented only if the marriages would have been registered. So, these are certain instances that are eye openers which show us the necessity of registering a marriage.
These are the real reasons for India to have a registration requirement for marriage. The Central Government brought the Compulsory Registration of Marriage Bill, 2005 with the idea of making the citizens of India aware of the social structure and associated laws by highlighting the necessity of the registration of marriage.
The Supreme Court ruled that regardless of the religion to which the parties to the marriage belong, the registration for any marriage will be held to be mandatory and compulsory in nature. This decision was made with the conditions of women in mind who are suffering from their married life due to bad habits of husbands, marital distress, etc. The supreme court also adopted the stance that the regulation imposed by the court must be obeyed without any unnecessary hesitations till the time respective State Governments are able to come up with separate legislation or bring about satisfying adjustments to the current status of registration marriages.
It is really challenging to make registration to be compulsory for all marriages unless the government itself make it by way of legislation.


  • Seema v. Ashwani Kumar
    In this case Supreme Court held that when one’s marriage gets registered then at later point of time if any type of disparity comes be it related to the custody of the child or maintenance of the wife or a matter of succession or Will then the certificate of marriage will act as evidence in court and it will get easy to prove that the marriage has happened.
  • P. Remesh Kumar v. Secy.,Kannapuram Grama
    In this case it was observed that there are certain standards which are necessary for a marriage to get registered. Within 15 days of the marriage’s solemnization, the application for registration of the marriage must be completed.