On the 13th of February, 2006, The Supreme Court of India ruled that all marriages, irrespective of their religion, be compulsorily registered and directed the Centre and state governments to frame and notify rules for this within three months. A bill was passed in the Parliament to this effect, Read Here.
The Indian Christian Marriages Act of 1872 also demands for compulsory registration of marriages. Accordingly entries are made in the marriage register of the church, soon after the ceremony along with the signatures of the bride, bridegroom, the officiating priest and witnesses.
Undoubtedly the compulsory registration of marriages has got many advantages.
- As the married couple would be given a Government certificate as marriage document, it would become an undisputable valuable evidence of marriage.
- It would also double as valid evidence while accompanying wife/husband to foreign country. It would also facilitate the easy processing of passports and visa.
- It helps facilitate easy name change process.
- When a person happens to die without nomination for bank deposit or life insurance policy, it will be helpful for the husband/wife to get such money.
- Since the Registrar is supposed to verify whether the marriage had in fact taken place in accordance with the personal law applicable to the spouses, he would have to specifically mention in a special column the presence of the spouses before issuing the marriage certificate
For court marriages of christians the forms are available in Mantralaya, 2nd floor, the contact person is Mr. Ramesh F D’souza, 2nd floor, Finance Dept, Mantralaya. The forms are available between 2:00pm to 4:30pm. The marriage date is fixed after 7 days of submitance of duly completed forms. You also have the liberty of selecting a date as their is not much rush over here. On the allocated date post signing we have to pay the department Rs.150/- only. Marriage certificate is provided on that very day itself.
Here is the process that was followed by Mr & Mrs Savio and Juliet Henriques in getting their marriage certified
We went to the Archbishop House at Woodhouse, opp. All India Lawn Tennis Association, Colaba. There we met Msgr. William Nazareth (the sister at the reception will guide). He attested the certificate immediately and gave us the name and address of Mr. Ramesh Dsouza at Mantralaya. We went immediately to Mantralaya, took a gatepass (ID proof compulsory) and waited in a queue to enter inside since they are open only between 2:00pm to 5:00pm. There we went to the 3rd floor office of Mr. Dsouza, he immediately signed on the backside of the church marriage certificate and directed us to Mr. Sawant on the same floor, who in turn stamped the seal of Govt. of Maharashtra, Marriage Registrar, and we were told that the certificate is now valid for all government and official purposes.