Physical Presence Of The Couple Compulsory For Marriage Registration, Reiterates Madras HC [Read Order]

Physical Presence Of The Couple Compulsory For Marriage Registration, Reiterates Madras HC [Read Order]

“It shall be incumbent upon the parties applying for the registration of marriage to establish that the marriage between them has been performed in accordance with their personal laws or custom or usage or tradition.”

The Madras High Court has directed the Inspector General of Registration to issue a circular making the physical presence of the parties to the marriage mandatory for the registration of their marriage.

The bench comprising Justice KK Sasidharan and Justice PD Audikesavalu observed that it shall be incumbent upon the parties applying for the registration of marriage to establish that the marriage between them has been performed in accordance with their personal laws or custom or usage or tradition.

The order was passed by the Madurai Bench in a petition filed by lawyer (A. Kannan) complaining that Registrars of marriages are registering marriages without verifying the solemnization of such marriage in accordance with the personal laws of the parties. He also sought a direction to amend the Rules making the presence of the parties to the marriages compulsory.

The bench observed that, under Section 7 of the Tamil Nadu Registration of Marriages Act, 2009, an obligation has been cast on the Registrar of marriages, before registering a marriage, to be satisfied that the marriage between the parties has been performed in accordance with the personal laws of the parties or any custom or usage or tradition and that the identity of the parties has been established.

The bench also referred to a judgment delivered in 2014 by the High Court, holding that marriage performed in secrecy at the Advocate's Chambers would not amount to solemnization. The court said that, in the said ruling (S. Balakrishnan Pandiyan vs. Superintendent of Police), it was clearly held that no marriage can be done without the physical presence of the parties to the marriage before the Registrar of marriages, except under special circumstances after recording the reasons.The judgment in E. Natarajan vs. State, was also referred to. In the said judgment, the court had highlighted the manner of solemnization required for a valid marriage in respect of various religions as well as the requirement to comply with the secular nature of procedure prescribed under the Special Marriages Act, 1954.

  • The bench then proceeded to issue the following directions.

    "We are of the considered view that it would be appropriate to direct the Third Respondent, viz., the Inspector General of Registration, to forthwith issue a circular to all the Registrars of marriages in the State of Tamil Nadu highlighting that in terms of Section 7 of the Act, as interpreted in the decisions of this Court mentioned supra, the physical presence of the parties to the marriage is necessary for the registration of their marriage and it shall be incumbent upon the parties applying for the registration of marriage to establish that the marriage between them has been performed in accordance with their personal laws or custom or usage or tradition. It shall also be indicated that if it is represented that any of the parties to the marriage could not be present due to any extenuating circumstances, the concerned Registrar of marriages would have to record reasons in writing in the event of accepting any such claim for exemption. It shall also be sternly warned that if any Registrar of marriages registers a marriage under the Act without complying with the said mandatory requirements, he shall be liable for disciplinary action as per rules."

    Priest Cum Lawyers Solemnizing Marriages

    The lawyer had also sought a direction to the Bar Council to take action against Advocates who give certificates of solemnization of marriages and registered the marriages in violation to the provisions of the Act.

    In this regard, the court reiterated the direction it issued in S. Balakrishnan Pandiyan judgment that, if a complaint is made by a party to the marriage to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry against a Priest-cum-Advocate, the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry shall take appropriate action in accordance with law and we reiterate the same.

    The High Court, in S. Balakrishnan Pandiyan, taking note of large scale solemnisation and registration of marriages by Priests Cum Advocates, had held that marriages performed secretly in the chambers of Advocates and Bar Association rooms will not amount to solemnisation within the meaning of Sections 7 and 7-A of the Hindu Marriage Act. The following directives were issued in the said case.

    • Marriages performed in secrecy in the chambers of Advocates and Bar Association Rooms, will not amount to solemnisation and only women who are victims of such marriage can question the same in matrimonial proceedings before the appropriate Court as a question of fact.
    • No registration of marriage can be done under the Tamil Nadu Registration of Marriages Act, 2009 without the physical presence of the parties to the marriage before the Registrar, except under special circumstances after recording the reasons.
    • If a complaint is made by a party to the marriage to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry against a Priest-cum-Advocate, the Bar Council shall take appropriate action in accordance with law.

    Read Order