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Surge in seal on nuptial ties

Sanjana (28), an IT professional, was married about a month ago in a lavish ceremony at Rajendra Nagar. Her husband, Brajesh Sinha (32), an engineer with a US-based company, accompanied Sanjana when the couple reached the Patna marriage court to get legal sanctity of their wedding on Monday.

After completing the formalities of filling up the application forms, the duo appeared before the sub-registrar of marriage (Patna) Ashok Kumar Thakur, who enquired about the date of their marriage and asked a few questions about the identity proof of the two witnesses. The couple were asked to come back to the office of the sub-registrar after 20 days to get their marriage certificate.

Sanjana and Brajesh were happy after their marriage got the seal of the legal authority. “I can’t go with my husband without getting the marriage registered. I would not even be allowed to stay with him in a hotel room. Marriage certificate is mandatory,” said Sanjana, who is employed by an IT company and posted in Lucknow.

Within an hour, another couple appeared before the sub-registrar of marriage Thakur with required documents. The same questions were asked and the couple — Archana (bride) and Nishant Kumar (bridegroom) — were asked to turn up after a month for the marriage certificate. The couple thanked the marriage officer and left for their Boring Canal Road residence.

According to the documents submitted to the marriage court, the bride is a teacher in a government school in Bihar while the groom is an HR professional working with a cellular company. The husband is posted in Chennai. The two were in love with each other since their school days. “Thanks to the social networking site for connecting each other about three years ago. Finally, we tied the nuptial knot in February this year,” Nishant said.

The case of Richa (20) and her boyfriend Rishav (23) is, however, different.

Since the parents of the boy and his fiancée were against their wedding as they belonged to two different castes, they had to take the help of a lawyer. “Since we were in hurry, we approached a lawyer, who completed the legal formalities and our marriage was registered under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955,” Rishav said.

Under the provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, only the marriage is done in the court while the rituals are performed by a pundit (priest). The procedure is completed in a day.

“Such provisions are meant for those who are in hurry. Though it is a little expensive as you have to pay the lawyer for his services,” a practising lawyer of the Patna civil court Sunil Kumar said.

Patna marriage court has witnessed a substantial increase in the number of marriages getting registered. Everyday, a large number of newly-wed couples visit the office of the sub-registrar (marriage) with the photographs of their marriage, their identity proofs, stamp (court) fee of Rs 1,000 and two witnesses. “Here, the marriages are solemnised and the old marriages registered under the provisions of the Special Marriage Act, 1954,” Thakur said.

In addition, marriages are registered under the provisions of the Bihar Marriage Registration Rules 2006. Under the provisions, the brides and the grooms were issued separate certificates of their marriage.

The provisions were made in the wake of reports of husbands deserting their wives, mostly non-resident Indians (NRIs) hailing from Punjab and Haryana, a senior officer of the registration department said.

Statistics available with the Patna marriage court revealed that a total of 770 marriages were solemnised and 784 marriages registered under the provisions of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, in Patna in 2013. Similarly, 38 marriages were registered under the provisions of Bihar Marriage Registration Rules, 2006, in 2013.

“The process of registration of the marriage has been simplified to encourage the people to get legal sanctity of their wedding,” the officer said.

Rajiv Kumar Singh, a social worker, attributed the reason for the rise in the registration of the marriages to high inflation and current economic downturn.

“Many people don’t want to spend lavishly on such occasions. Instead of organising a gala or a social gathering, they prefer to get their marriages registered in respective courts,” he said.