What is the Difference Between Court & Registered Marriage in India?

Marriage is a sacred union between two individuals, and in India, there are two types of marriages – court marriage and registered marriage. While both types of marriages are legally recognized in India, they differ in their procedures, requirements, and benefits.

Although the terms ‘Court Marriage‘, and ‘Marriage Registration‘ might confuse many, there are not even close to having similar definitions. In this article, we will explore the differences between court marriage and registered marriage in India and answer some frequently asked questions.

A court marriage, also known as a civil marriage, is a marriage that takes place before a Marriage Registrar in a court of law. It is a simple and quick procedure, and the couple is required to sign a legal document stating that they are married.

And the registered marriage involves a series of procedures, including the submission of documents, verification, and solemnization of the marriage. Registered marriage is a more formal and traditional process, and it is recognized under the Indian legal system.

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Court Marriage Vs Registered Marriage

What are the differences between Court Marriage and Registered Marriage?

The main differences between court marriage and registered marriage are:

• Procedure:

The court marriage procedure is relatively simple and requires only a few documents, while the registered marriage procedure is more formal and involves a series of procedures.

• Requirements:

Court marriage is open to people of all religions and nationalities, while registered marriage is restricted to people belonging to certain religions and requires adherence to certain customs and rituals.

• Time:

Court marriage can be completed within a day or two, while registered marriage may take several weeks to complete.


In a court marriage, only one witness is required, while in a registered marriage, two witnesses are required.


Both types of marriages are legally recognized, but registered marriage provides additional benefits, such as social security benefits, inheritance rights, and protection under family laws.

What is Court Marriage?

What is Court Marriage?

Court Marriage is nothing but marriages that take place in front of a few witnesses and a marriage officer. Court marriages require the presence of 3 witnesses apart from the bride and groom to solemnize the marriage. Court marriages are easier and quick as there are no cultural or traditional rituals performed.

Hence, it is obvious that court marriages are very different from traditional marriages. The only requirement is that a court marriage is that the marriage taking place is satisfying all the rules and regulations set by the Government under the special marriage act of 1954.

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The reason why people go for court marriages is they are simple and easy. Anyone can choose to go for a court marriage irrespective of their race, culture, religion, and gender. Moreover, there is no need for the spouse to be an Indian national i.e., one can be Indian even if the other is a foreigner. However, there are a certain set of rules and regulations to be met before going for a court marriage.

Required Documents:

  • An application form was signed by both parties along with the receipt.
  • Date of birth proof of both bride and groom.
  • Residential address proof.
  • Passport-size photographs of both the parties
  • Affidavit one each from both bride and groom stating the Date of birth, and Marital Status.
  • Copy of a divorce decree, if divorced
  • Death certificate of spouse if widowed

Rules for Court Marriage:

Some of the rules that have to be met for court marriage are listed below:

  • The bride and groom must not be previously married. However, the exception is only if the ex-husband/wife is deceased or divorced.
  • The bride and groom must be 18 & 21 respectively meeting the marriage eligibility age.
  • Both the parties are supposed to have free consent and only then the marriage can be solemnized.

What is Registered Marriage?

What is Registered Marriage?

Marriage Registration is an act of registering your marriage officially and having an official certificate of the same that acts as proof of two people being married. As India is a democracy, marriages in India can be registered under two acts, namely:

  • Hindu Marriage Act of 1955
  • Special Marriage Act of 1954

This legal testimony will help the couple avoid any future inconveniences or complications. Moreover, in recent years the government made an amazing decision by making marriage registration mandatory to preserve women’s rights.

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A marriage certificate can help you avail of many benefits and is considered to be an essential document similar to that of your ID proof. It helps in applying for a passport, updating Aadhar card details, opening a joint bank account, and also traveling abroad by applying for visas.

Registering your marriage will save you from a wide range of future complications and also help you apply for different Government schemes to avail yourself of maximum benefits.

Documents Required:

  • Wedding Invitation
  • Address Proof such as Aadhar Card
  • ID Proofs such as birth certificate

Rules for Registered Marriage:

Marriage Registration also has a certain set of rules and regulations to be followed. Some of these rules are listed below:

  • Both parties must not be previously married. The exception is a divorcee or widower.
  • The parties should have free consent. The consent should be taken in complete soundness of mind, and should not be forced in any way.
  • The parties should attain the eligible age of marriage.

If you haven’t registered your marriage, do it at the earliest to avoid any kind of inconvenience.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Ques: Is court marriage valid in India?

Ans: Yes, court marriage is valid in India and is legally recognized under the Special Marriage Act, of 1954.

Ques: Is registered marriage mandatory in India?

Ans: No, registered marriage is not mandatory in India, but it is recommended to have a registered marriage to avail of the legal benefits and protections that come with it.

Ques: What documents are required for court and registered marriage?

Ans: The documents required for court marriage may vary depending on the state, but generally, the following documents are mentioned above in the article.

Ques: Can foreigners get married in India?

Ans: Yes, foreigners can get married in India under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, or the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The procedure and requirements may vary depending on the nationality and religion of the parties involved.

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