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5 Major Difficulties You Will Face If You Do Not Have A Marriage Certificate

There are several difficulties which can be faced by a couple that does not possess a marriage certificate

Tuesday June 25, 2019 10:41 PM, ummid.com News Network

Marriage Certificate

People in India are often of the belief that the state is separate from personal and religious aspects of their lives. Therefore, even after being educated and having the necessary resources, people fail to apply for a marriage certificate. They do not believe that a document that is issued by a government registrar is the thing that validates their marriage.

The solemnization of their marriage, they believe, is done by their almighty. As a result, it is not uncommon for an average married couple to often forget about their marriage certificate.

However, this should not be the case. A marriage certificate, though does not validate or invalidate a marriage, it certainly is a prima facie proof of the solemnization of the marriage.

There are several difficulties which can be faced by a couple that does not possess a marriage certificate. This article, seeks to enumerate those and also makes an attempt to provide a prospective solution for each of those difficulties.

'Hindu Marriage Act'

The first difficulty which a couple who claims to be married without possessing a marriage certificate can face is that in a suit for bigamy or polygamy. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 strictly prohibits marriages in excess of one. This prohibition is gender neutral and therefore applies equally to both men and women.

The intention of our forefathers who drafted the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 was clear that they did not want to permit either polygamy or polygyny. Therefore, if either of the spouses has filed for a divorce under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955; and if the ground is that of polygamy, then, the court or the magistrate in the family court is definitely going to ask for a marriage certificate on the first day of the hearing itself. If the complainant spouse fails to produce before the court their marriage certificate, that spouse is bound to face difficulties in proving her/his case. The burden of proving that their marriage was validly solemnized is going to be very high. The court would want from the complainant spouse satisfactory proof of the fact that their marriage was actually solemnized.

In such cases, it becomes very easy for the other (defendant) spouse to prove against the factum of marriage. Though it is true that their wedding invitation card, the wedding photographs and the testimony of the people who attended their wedding can be produced as evidence, all of the above-mentioned only constitute secondary evidence and not primary evidence under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Since, they are secondary evidence, it will not be hard for the defendant spouse to produce evidence to rebut the same. For instance, the defendant spouse can claim the photos to be fake etc. and thus introduce a doubt in the minds of the court.

On the other hand, a marriage certificate would have constituted a conclusive proof of the fact of solemnization of their marriage, which could have been rebutted only be severe claims like that of fraud or undue influence or forgery etc.

'Divorce Proceedings'

A second difficulty that a couple might have to face due to absence of a marriage certificate is related to divorce proceedings. If one of the spouses from the marriage, say the wife, wants a divorce from her husband on grounds mentioned under Section 13 (1) (b) of the Hindu Marriage Act, the first thing that the court is going to ask for is a marriage certificate. A marriage not properly conducted as per the Hindu rites and rituals can very easily be contested as a marriage that is null and void.

However, this problem is not likely to arise if the couple possesses a marriage certificate. This is because existence of a marriage certificate cures the marriage of any technical defect that the other party may claim on the basis of a trivial divergence from conventional and traditional norms. A duly issued marriage certificate enables the court to make a positive presumption in favour of the factum of marriage. It is the strongest and most satisfactory proof of solemnization of the marriage, regardless of any technical faults in the way the ceremonies were carried out.

'Travelling Abroad'

A third difficulty that an otherwise married couple is likely to face in the absence of a marriage certificate is if the couple wishes to travel abroad. If one of the spouses is residing abroad and the other spouse is to follow the first spouse, then it is likely that the second spouse would apply for a citizenship or at least for a residence permit in that country abroad on the basis of this marital connection. In such cases the foreign authority is going to ask for proof of marriage. These authorities abroad, only accept documents issued by the Government of India (that is, bearing the seal of Government of India and duly signed or initialed by the marriage registrar). Foreign authorities are not going to accept proofs like marriage photographs, wedding invitations etc. and only a document indicating government's authority will be acceptable to them.

Therefore, if the couple wants to live a peaceful life with no hassles, it is always better to have a marriage certificate. Also, because in cases where one of the parties to the marriage is going to accompany the other to a foreign country then, the marriage certificate will be needed not just for a residence permit or citizenship in the other country but also for visa to be able to travel to that country and enter their territory.

'Renting An Apartment'

A fourth difficulty that a couple without a marriage certificate will have to face is that of getting a place to live in India itself. If the couple does not own a house of their own (which is very common for a newlywed couple in a metro city) then they will be renting an apartment. The landlords they are going to approach is definitely going to ask for a marriage certificate because that will be proof of their marriage. Many people in India are, even today, not willing to rent out their apartments to unconventional family and prefer a tenant with a stable, and conventional family structure. Live in relationships are unlikely to be approved by a landlord and unless the couple shows a marriage certificate as valid proof of their marriage, they are bound to face difficulties in finding a decent abode for them to reside.

'Domestic Violence'

Last, but not the least, during cases of domestic violence or dowry demands, if the woman wants to file a complaint against her husband or his family members, she would have to submit the marriage certificate before the police for filing the FIR.

Therefore, to avoid the abovementioned problems, it is advised that the couple have a marriage certificate.

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