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Report No. 211

Chapter VII

General State Laws on Marriage Registration

A. Bombay Registration of Marriages Act 1954

Before the reorganization of States, the legislature of the former State of Bombay had enacted a law for compulsory registration of marriages. Titled as Bombay Registration of Marriages Act 1954, it was made applicable to all marriages other than those solemnized under the following laws all of which had their own provisions for marriage registration:

(i) Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act 1936,

(ii) Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872, and

(iii) Special Marriage Act 1872 (now Special Marriage Act 1954).

After the re-organization of states in 1956 the Bombay Act of 1954 was retained in force, with necessary adaptation, in the present States of Maharashtra and Gujarat. In both States it was later amended in certain respects.

Under this Act the State Government may appoint, by name or ex officio, so many persons to act as Registrars of Marriages for such local areas as it may think necessary and prescribe their duties and powers under the Rules to be made thereunder. The Act, read with the Rules made under it, lays down an elaborate procedure for registration of marriages.

Every marriage contracted in the State has to be compulsorily registered as provided by this law. The requirement applies not only to the first but also to all subsequent marriages of any person. Also, it applies in whatever form or manner a marriage may have been contracted or solemnized. This obligation applies from the date on which the registration law of 1954 is brought in force in any local area, as per the State government's gazette notification.

Failure to register a marriage as required by the law will attract a statutory penalty by way of fine up to two hundred rupees but shall not make the marriage invalid if it is otherwise valid under the law applicable to it.

For the purpose of registration of a marriage a memorandum of marriage is to be prepared and signed by the parties to the marriage. If either party is under the age of eighteen years at the time of marriage the memorandum will be prepared and signed by that party's father or guardian. However, where such party has married without the consent of father or guardian, that party - and not the guardians - will prepare and sign the memorandum. It has to be in a statutory form providing all the details as laid down in the Rules. The officiating priest or whoever else solemnizes a marriage has to sign the memorandum.

Within the prescribed period the memorandum so prepared is to be sent in duplicate and with the prescribed fee by registered post to the Registrar of Marriages of the local area where the marriage takes place. The Registrar will file one copy of the memorandum in his Register of Marriages and send the other copy to the State's Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages working under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 1886.

A penalty of fine of two hundred rupees is prescribed by the law imposable on conviction for:

(i) willfully omitting or neglecting to deliver or send a memorandum of marriage as required by the law,

(ii) willfully omitting or neglecting to deliver or send a memorandum of marriage within the prescribed time, and

(iii) making in such a memorandum any statement which is false in any material particular and which the person making it knows or has reason to believe to be false.

Laws on Registration of Marriage and Divorce - A Proposal for consolidation and reform Back

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