Citizens' Issues
Marriage registration: Why it is a must for every married couple
Have you got your marriage registered under the Special Marriage Act? Here are some reasons why you should do it now

Marriages in India are governed by laws specific to the person’s religion. Usually, people think about having their marriage registered under the Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954, only when the couple planning matrimony belong to different religions, since the act allows each of them to retain their religion. 
The law does not require a Hindu marriage or a Muslim marriage to be registered under the Act. But I would argue that there are many advantages to complete the formality of registration under the Special Marriage Act. 
In case of inter-religion marriages, it eliminates any conflict or decision about religion. A Hindu boy can marry a Christan girl and both can maintain their respective religion after their marriage. However, it must be remembered that children born to this couple will get father's religion, by birth, under Indian Law. 
The Special Marriage Act, eliminates the need for mandatory religion-specific rituals like the "Saptapadi" for Hindus and "Kabool" or agreement among Muslims. Consequently, even divorce by uttering "Talak" three times in front of a Kazi is not permissible, once a marriage is registered under Special Marriage Act -SMA. A divorce can only be obtained through a decree from the family court. 
Couples who are already married under the laws governing their  respective religions can also get their marriage registered under the SMA. They need to fill Form 16, rather than Form 5 that is applicable to couples who plan to get married. 
The process requires filling a form and giving a notice to the Marriage Officer’s office with age, identity and address proof. The marriage has to be registered after a 30-day period but within 90 days of serving the notice. The registration has to be witnessed by three witness, who also have to provide identification proof with photographs these days. 
For already married couples who want to register their marriage under the SMA, long after they have started families, the process is similar but with small differences. These couples would fill Form 16 for special marriage registration, which also has provision to include the names of their children with their age on the date of registration. The marriage certificate will include the names of the children and thus becomes a sort of family certificate that is very useful in succession related issues. 
Life is uncertain and you never know when the precaution of having registered a marriage under the SMA would help. Consider some of these real life situations. We have changed the names in all examples 
a) Meenal, a girl from a Gujarati family got married to Anand from the same community in a family arranged marriage. Tragically, she lost her husband in a car accident within two months of her marriage. The in-laws, as happens so often in India, decided that she had brought bad luck and threw her out of the house without a penny, even though they were wealthy. A certificate under the SMA would have facilitated the process of making some compensation from the husband’s family – after all, her parents had spent a great deal on her marriage. It is not as though she loses her right or ability to make a claim, it is just that the hardship involved in proving a traditional marriage with photographs, wedding cards and statements from the priest and guests is a lot more tedious and time consuming. 
b) Altaf, a Muslim boy was in love with Shalini, a Hindu. When they decided to marry, Shalini agreed to convert to Islam but only if the marriage was registered under the SMA. As it turned out, two years later things began to sour. Altaf, who was wealthy, believed that he could marry four times under his religion and began to make plans to get married again. Shalini approached the family court and argued that Altaf could not marry again without first divorcing her, since their marriage was registered under the SMA. The two were divorced, but Shalini obtained compensation under the SMA, before Altaf could go his own way. 
c) Jagdish Lahiri, professor at a well-known Mumbai college suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of 53. His widow submitted a request to the college seeking a family pension as per the rules. The pension office asked her to submit a marriage certificate. Unfortunately, the professor and his wife had not registered their marriage (a marriage can be registered at any time when the two spouses are alive). She then had to approach a competent court for a succession certificate after which the family pension was granted. This took six months and would probably have led to a longer wait but for the fact that a former student of her husband, who was an advocate, agreed to help her get the succession certificate fairly quickly for a small fee. It still meant living without the pension for six months in addition to the trauma in the middle of a tragedy. 
d) Kantilal Sheth, a businessman, died leaving behind his widow and two children. He was prudent enough to have made a Will in which he left his entire estate to his wife. Strangely enough, Kantilal’s sons  challenged the Will and went to the extent of asking for documentary proof that she was indeed the legal wife of their father. As it turns out, the husband had anticipated this ugly situation too and has registered his marriage under the SMA. The certificate had the names of his sons as well. So the court recognised it as valid evidence and granted a probate allowing all properties to the mother. What is sad about this story is that their father’s Will had said they would get equal share of the property after the mother’s demise, but the sons subjected their mother to indignity to try and wrest the property even while she lived. 
e) Ashok Merchant had a partnership business. The partnership deed had a succession clause that said that after the demise of any of the partners, his wife or son would be absorbed into the partnership in place of the deceased partner. Now, Merchant passed away and left behind his wife and three adult sons.  The wife was uninterested in the business and only her second son was keen on the partnership. The other partners demanded that the family provide proof that they were indeed the sons of Mr Merchant. His widow and the other two sons then wrote an affidavit and provided an indemnity to the partnership firm that they had jointly and severally decided to have the second son substitute their father in the partnership. But the partners wanted proof of the marriage. Here again, Mr Merchant had his marriage registered under the SMA just five years before his demise. So the marriage certificate, which had the names of all three sons, was an adequate document in court for the succession formalities and the partnership.
f) Now consider what happens when you don’t have such proof. This story goes back to 1997, when property rates were not so high. Ajeet Kaul, an automobile engineer, was in love with a Maharashtrian girl, Amita Bhosle. Both worked in an auto showroom. The two decided to get married. Now, Article 270 of Indian Constitution gives special rights to people from Kashmir. But the right expires if they buy property outside Kashmir, or marry a person, who is not domicile of Kashmir. After their marriage according to Hindu rites, Kaul bought a flat in Amita's name in which they lived in the Mumbai suburbs. Amita took great care not to register the marriage and even the rituals happened at the priest’s house, with neither the bride nor the groom’s parents were present. The parents were against the marriage and she claimed that they would announce their marriage only after they had a child, in order to win them over. A couple of months later, Kaul had to travel to Kashmir for a fortnight. On his return, he was shocked to see another family living in his house. On asking, he discovered that Amita had sold the flat to the family and vanished; worse she had told them that a Kashmiri who was staying as a paying guest would come and collect his belongings in 15 days. Ajeet Kaul then went to the auto showroom where they worked and discovered that she had left the job too. After a great effort, he found her new address and tried to meet her. He discovered that she was married to another Marathi boy and produced her SMA certificate of that marriage. Kaul had been thoroughly conned – he was robbed of Rs5 lakh and heartbroken. The lesson here is not merely to register your marriage under the SMA but also be less trusting. 
(Shirish S Shanbhag, an MSc and a retired professor with over 32 years of experience, helps draft legal documentation related to co-operative societies, RTI and several other areas.)



Bapoo Malcolm

3 years ago

Really well written. The examples are splendid.

Bapoo M Malcolm


3 years ago

My friend's son (Hindu) -an NRI married in DEC,2010 got married with a Hindi girl.

Marrige was registered with Mumbai Municipal Corp.Marrige registration certificate mentions-BMC-form E -Certificate of Registration of Marrige (see section 6(I),(e) and rule(5).Bottom line of certificate mentions Maharashtra Regulation Of Marrige Bureaus and registration of Marriges Act.1998.

Is above certificate /act different then SMA 1954 ? Please clarify.

Markets under three scenarios of NDA winning the mandate

If NDA gets between 240-271, the markets would be disappointed, if it gets between 271-292 it would be broadly neutral to positive for markets and if NDA gets more than 291, then it would be seen as  significantly positive by markets

Exit polls released by several media predict a clear mandate for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. The NDA is predicted to win between 249-340 seats (mean: 285) of the 543 seats in the lower house (272 seats are required to form a simple majority), while the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is predicted to win between 70-148 seats (mean: 105). If the exit polls are right, then a majority for the NDA government will be taken very positively by the markets, says Nomura in a research note.


"Notwithstanding a possible knee-jerk market reaction on 16th May, the exit polls confirm and strengthen our baseline expectation of a stable NDA-led government, which is a positive outcome, in our view. This, along with a gradual improvement in the growth outlook in 2015, a credible central bank and easing macro-imbalances bode well for India’s medium-term economic prospects. We expect real GDP growth to rise to 5.0% in FY15 and further to 5.7% in FY16 from 4.7% y-o-y in FY14," the research note added.


However, Nomura said while viewing current exit polls it is important to highlight that both the opinion and exit polls misjudged final results in 2004 and 2009. In 2004, both opinion and exit polls were predicting an NDA win, and while the exit polls were able to capture the loss of momentum for the NDA, none of the agencies were able to predict what turned out to be a convincing Congress-led UPA victory. In 2009, both opinion and exit polls did predict an UPA plurality, but they were mostly pointing to a hung parliament, whereas the actual results showed an almost clean verdict for the the UPA government.

According to the 2014 exit polls, among the swing states, the BJP is predicted to win 45-54 out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh as against 10 in 2009 and 19-28 out of the 40 seats compared with 12 in 2009 in Bihar. Among the regional parties, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)-led by J Jayalalitha and the All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) led by Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal are likely to emerge strong.


Nomura said, with all due respect to the pollsters concerned, the wide range between the lowest and highest forecasts (i.e., about 90 seats) confirms, in its view, as proved to be the case in 2004 and 2009, that the exit polls should be treated with some caution.


Consistent with this, Nomura sees three main scenarios, like...


1. The NDA secures a solid plurality of between 240 and 271 seats: given the significantly higher forecasts offered by some pollsters, an outcome in this range is likely to prove something of a disappointment to markets. It would, nevertheless, represent a solid plurality, in our view (and be a better outcome for the NDA than what the majority of pre-election opinion polls were predicting). It would require the NDA to enter into negotiations with a number of smaller parties to form a solid (i.e., around 300 seats) majority government. Although the NDA would be in a sound position to do this, such negotiations would likely be noisy and involve some trade-offs on both substance and

ministerial portfolios.


2. The NDA secures a slim majority, i.e., 272-290 seats: we think that markets would likely see this (mid-range, relative to exit polls) outcome as broadly neutral to positive, since the NDA would likely still look to bring in one or more smaller party to ensure greater stability (given the somewhat fractious nature of the current coalition). However, it would be in a strong position to negotiate and we believe that the resultant government would be driven largely by an NDA determined agenda.


3. The NDA secures over 290 seats: we think that in these circumstances, the NDA would probably opt not to bring other parties into the coalition (with the option of doing so downstream if, at a later stage in the parliamentary term, there were defectors from its ranks). This would be seen as a significant positive by markets, in our view, as it should bolster Mr Modi's command over the coalition partners and over dissident elements within the BJP.


Nomura says the exit polls confirm and strengthen its baseline expectation of a stable NDA-led government, which is a positive outcome. "We believe that India's medium-term outlook is likely to gradually turn positive. With growth bottoming out, increased credibility of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and faster execution cycle likely post elections, we believe that India's growth mix will change away from consumption towards investment and macro-imbalances will gradually correct. This increased macro stability indicates that the economy is at an inflection point. We expect real GDP growth to rise to 5.0% in FY15 and further to 5.7% in FY16 from 4.7% y-o-y in FY14," it concluded.


Sensex zooms to all-time high but outflows from equity funds continue

Equity mutual funds register a net outflow of Rs160 crore in April, as sales fail to pick up, while outflows continue

Equity mutual funds continued to face redemption pressures in April as the market indices—Sensex and Nifty, continue to rally ferociously upwards. Though both redemptions and purchases of equity mutual funds were lower compared to March, higher redemptions led to a net outflow of Rs160 crore. Sales of equity mutual funds totalled Rs5,621 core, higher than the average of the past 12 months of Rs3,841 crore. Redemptions too, were above average. Redemptions in March equalled Rs5,781 crore, as compared to the past 12-month average of Rs4,613 crore. Over the past 12 months, equity mutual funds reported a net inflow in as many as six months. Over the past one year, as much as Rs9,157 crore has flowed out of equity mutual funds.

With the heavy outflows, equity assets under management (AUM) have reported a lower growth compared to that of the market. While the Sensex may have moved up by 15% to 22,417 from 19,504 over the one-year period ended 30 April 2014, equity AUM has grown by just 6.56% over this period. Only one new fund offer (NFO) was launched in April, bringing in Rs64 crore.

After several months of reporting a decline in equity folios, in April, the number of folios increased by 0.39 million or 1.32% to 29.57 million. Unfortunately, the increase in folios has been marginal and not sufficient enough to offset the huge decline in folios over the past year. Over the year ended 30 April 2014, mutual fund folios declined by 10% or 3.34 million folios.




Suiketu Shah

3 years ago

Problem is chronic.People have lost faith in MF due to large scale manipulation and false promises by almsot all fund houses.I see even more equity mf selling at we peak 16/19 May and rightly so.


3 years ago


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