Seema vs Ashwani Kumar

Facts of Seema vs Ashwani Kumar

During the hearing of the petition, it was observed by the bench that in various cases many people are refuting the existence of marriage as there is no evidence to substantiate the same, therefore, the Amicus Curiae assisted the court in laying down some guidelines to avoid such situations.

Issue of Seema vs Ashwani Kumar

  1. Whether the Registration of Marriage is compulsory in India?

Observations of Seema vs Ashwani Kumar

  • By analysing the women commission report, it was observed that registration of marriages would be the right step.
  • List III of Schedule VII, entry 30 of the Indian Constitution, deals with “Vital Statistics” which related to registration of birth and death and its scope is extended to the registration of marriages.
  • Most of the states have existing rules and procedures relating to the registration of marriages but not making registration mandatory. Four States, i.e. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have made registration of marriages mandatory.
  • Section 8 of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, also specifies that registration of marriage would act as proof of the existence of marriage.

Decision of Seema vs Ashwani Kumar

The court concluded that:

  1. The registration of marriage would serve as the presumption of marriage, and non-registered marriages would not have the benefit of the presumption.
  2. Therefore, all the citizen of all religions must register their marriage in the state where the marriage was solemnized.
  3. The court also directed the state and central government –
    1. To create rules/regulation/ procedure for registration of marriages
    2. To appoint an officer who should be authorized to register the marriage, the age and marital status of the parties.

The consequences of any false representation should be clearly stated in the rules made.

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