Law Commission of India submits Report No. 270, recommending Compulsory Registration of Marriages

The Department of Legal Affairs forwarded a request received from the Legislative Department, asking the Law Commission to examine and submit a report with regard to various issues relating to compulsory registration of marriages. This Report proposes to amend the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 to include compulsory registration of marriage within its purview.

The Commission highlights that the recommendation is neither aimed at eliminating diversity of personal laws nor it aims to nullify the existing provisions for registration of marriages under different state laws. The Commission notes that in different parts of the country marriage registration is regulated by one of the three central laws – the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act, 1886, the Registration Act, 1908 and Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, this creates lot of confusion with registration officials as well as people.

The Commission suggested that “the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act, 1886 be repealed and Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1969 be re-named as ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act’ with a provision that officials working and records maintained under the former Act shall be deemed to be working and maintained under the latter Act”. The idea of these recommendations is not to lay down a procedure recognised for solemnisation of marriage but only for registration of marriages.

The Commission also recommends making registration of marriage online as far as possible and also to link registration of marriage to the unique identification number (UID). Here are some other important recommendations:

i. Separate standalone legislation may not be required so long as an amendment is made to the Births, Deaths Registration Act to include Marriages.

ii. The recommended bill would only serve as a guiding principle which would apply across the country but specific amendments to the scheme can be added by the States.

iii. The Registrar who is responsible for the registration of births and deaths shall be responsible for the registration of marriages as well.

iv. if the Birth or Marriage or Death is not registered within the specified time limit, then the Registrar shall on the payment of a late fee, register the death or birth (a) within a period of 30 days (b) within one year, only with the written permission of the prescribed authority; and (c) after one year, only on an order of a First Class Magistrate. It provides for a penalty of Rs. 5 per day in case of delay in registration of ‘marriage without a reasonable cause’.

v. Village Panchayats, local civil bodies and municipalities should create awareness with regard to marriage registration.

To read the Report, click HERE

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