What is a Death
Certificate and Why is it Needed?
A Death Certificate
is a document issued by the Government to the nearest relatives of the
deceased, stating the date, fact and cause of death. It is essential to
register death to prove the time and date of death, to establish the fact of
death for relieving the individual from social, legal and official obligations,
to enable settlement of property inheritance, and to authorise the family to
collect insurance and other benefits.
The Legal Framework
In India, it is
mandatory under the law (as per the Registration
of Births & Deaths Act, 1969) to register every death with the
concerned State/UT Government within 21 days of its occurrence. The
Government accordingly has provided for a well-defined system for
registration of Death, with the Registrar General, India, at the centre and the
Chief Registrars in States, running through district registrars to the village
and town registrars at the periphery.
What You Need to Do
to Obtain a Death Certificate
A death can be
reported and registered by the head of the family, in case it occurs in a
house; by the medical in-charge if it occurs in a hospital; by the jail
in-charge if it occurs in a jail; and by the headman of the village or the
in-charge of the local police station in case the body is found deserted in
To apply for a Death
Certificate, you must first register the death. The death has to be registered
with the concerned local authorities within 21 days of its occurrence, by
filling up the form prescribed by the Registrar. Death Certificate is then
issued after proper verification.
If a death is not
registered within 21 days of its occurrence, permission from the Registrar/Area
Magistrate, along with the fee prescribed in case of late registration, is
The application form
in which you are required to apply is usually available with the area’s local
body authorities, or with the Registrar who maintains the Register of Deaths.
You might also need to submit proof of birth of the deceased, an affidavit
specifying the date and time of death, a copy of the ration card, and the
required fee in the form of court fee stamps.
Select a State to Download the Death Certificate, for that State.