In India, the provision of registration of marriage is different for different religion and states e.g. there are four statues, which provide for compulsory registration of marriages. They are: (1) The Bombay Registration of Marriages Act, 1953 (applicable to Maharashtra and Gujarat ), (2) The Karnataka Marriages act, 1976, (3) The Himachal Pradesh Registration of Marriages Act, 1996, and (4) The Andhra Pradesh Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act, 2002. In Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa and Meghalaya the registration of marriage is voluntary for Muslims. Under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 which applies to Indian citizens irrespective of religion each marriage is registered by the Marriage officer specially appointed for the purpose. The registration of marriage is compulsory under the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872. Under this Act, entries are made in the marriage register of the concerned Church soon after the marriage ceremony along with the signatures of bride and bridegroom, the officiating priest and the witnesses. The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 makes registration of marriages compulsory. In Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, there is provision of registration of marriage under section 8, but its not compulsory and a marriage is valid even if its not registered.

According to the National Commission for Women, in most cases non registration of marriages affects the women to a great measure. If the marriage is registered it also provides evidence of the marriage having taken place and would provide a rebuttable presumption of the marriage having taken place. The registration of marriage has following benefits:

(1) Prevention of child marriages and to ensure minimum age of marriage.

(2) Prevention of marriages without the consent of the parties.

(3) Check illegal bigamy / polygamy

(4) Enabling married women to claim their right to live in the matrimonial house, maintenance, etc.

(5) Enabling widows to claim their inheritance rights and other benefits and privileges which they are entitled to after the death of their husband.

(6) Deterring men from deserting women after marriage.

(7) Deterring parents/guardians from selling daughters /young girls to any person including a foreigner, under the grab of marriage.

Therefore Supreme Court, by its order dated 14 february 2006, in the case Smt. Seema vs Ashwani Kumar , had directed central government and all states to frame rule to make registration of marriage compulsory.

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