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Section 8(1) of Hindu Marriage Act provides that for the purpose of facilitating the proof of Hindu marriages, the state government may make rules providing that the parties to any such marriage may have the particulars relating to their marriage entered on such manner and subject to such conditions, as may be prescribed in a Hindi Marriage Register kept for the purpose. (Registration)
Registration when necessary
Section 8(2) of the Act provides that the State Government may, if it is of opinion that it is necessary or expedient so to do, provide that the entering of the particulars referred to above, shall be compulsory in the state or in any part thereof, whether in all cases, or in such cases as may be specified.
There was no requirement for the registration of Hindu marriages before the Hindu marriage Act, 1955. Generally, Hindus do not get their marriages registered unlike Adoption, Will Transfer of Property and Partition. The Act does not contain the rules of registration and the State Government have been authorised to frame them.
The purpose of registration is only to furnish a convenient evidence of marriage Clause (4) provides that Hindu Marriage Registers will be admitted as evidence. The certificate is however not a conclusive proof of marriage.
Besides the evidentiary value, the national commission for women has pointed that registration of marriage has critical importance to various women related issues, such as:–
- Prevention of child marriage.
- Prevention of marriage without the consent of the parties.
- Prevention of illegal bigamy or polygamy.
- Enabling married women to claim their right to live in the matrimonial home, maintenance, etc.
- Enabling the widows to claim various rights after the death of their husbands.
- Deterring men from deserting their wives after marriage.
- Deterring the sale of girl under the garb of marriage.
It is explicitly laid down in this Act that non registration does not affect the validity of marriage. Thus marriage can be valid without registration.
In Seema v. Ashwini Kumar, the Supreme Court has dwelt at length on the topic of registration of marriages. It suggested for the compulsory registration of marriages in all the states.