Thought of standing in line in a government office strikes terror on everyone's mind, especially people from private organization who have seen excellence and improvements in processes at every stage. Simple tasks like filling forms and getting things approved takes days and months of efforts in these office - things can be made as difficult as possible - you could not dare imagine the boundaries of silliness and lethargic attitude of certain people in these places (our assumption, which is true).
We got married last year but due to due to some reasons we could not get the marriage certificate in time. Most of our friends advised us to get this act done without delay and have our names in each other's passports under spouse category. Question was "how" with the daring thought of facing BABUs in dilapidated government offices. One good thing happened with us was that we were in Delhi, where things happened with appointments and online applications.
First thing I did was to collect whatever information I could get from one of my colleagues who recetly got this done in Delhi itself. That gave little confidence of success :). There is a website that gives some description of the items required and also provide link for appointments - and frankly said, this really helped a lot - except one way trip back to my home for missing certificate from their office :) but finally we got the deed done without much problems. Here is the thing:
For Delhi guys (present address), visit - http://districts.delhigovt.nic.in/chooseidn.asp or http://dcsouth.delhigovt.nic.in/registeration_marriage.htm (Only Internet Explorer - it doesn't work on MOZILLA - don't know about other explorers). Enter your district - say for Dwarka, it is SOUTH WEST and move forward. Next page will ask you about Applicant's Name, Gender, Address (enter the address for which you have the residential proof - your present address of Delhi in Dwarka), Select your locality from a drop down (say Dwarka Phase 1) - finally select "Registration of Marriage Certificate" and Click to Apply Online.
Next Page will ask you to select a date of registration, but usually on these dates you would end up meeting BABUs or BABLIs (if any) ;). Enter your details like Name, Father's Name, Date of Birth, Present Address (you should have this proof), Permanent Address (it has nothing to do with the certificate), Marital status and date of marriage. You can have the same address for your wife if your wife has some residential proof for that place, else you can also write residential address for which certificate is present with her.Post this, you can submit the application. Usually for Dwarka, it would be Kapashera District Court (near Kapashera Bus stand at Gurgaon Delhi Border). Post submission online, you would be required to take the print out of the filled Application Form. It would also have the details of where you would need to appear - Kapashera in my case. Problem is that if you check on websites for the SDM offices, it would show Najafgarh for Dwarka - which is not correct - typical government sites I must say :(
Now the list of items required as documents:
1. Documentary evidence of date of birth of both parties (10th/Matriculation Certificate/Passport/ Birth Certificate for anyone born after 1989) Minimum age of both parties should be 21 years at the time of registration under the Special Marriage Act - we showed 10th Mark sheet/Pan card
2. Residential Proof of both husband or wife whose area SDM has been approached for the certificate - We submitted UID registration receipt - the BABU accepted it but the marriage officer rejected it saying it was just a receipt, we also had gazetted officer certificate since my dad is in defense. It seems they don't accept SBI Passbook - but the signing authority seems to be OK with it - anyway I had 3-4 options including Rent Agreement (with police verification copy in it)
3. Affidavit by both the parties stating place and date of marriage, date of birth, marital status at the time of marriage and nationality - This was made by us near District Office (Court) by small one room office guys sitting outside court at Rs 60 per affidavit
4. Two passport size photographs of both the parties and one marriage photograph - This should be all attested by some A class Gazetted officer
5. Marriage invitation card, if available. - This is not mandatory but if attached, it would be good - we presented our card from girl side
6. If marriage was solemnized in a religious place, a certificate from the priest is required who solemnized the marriage - We got gazetted officer signature marriage certificate stating all details - for Sikh Marriages usually they give the certificate then and there in Gurudwara, post marriage. For Hindu marriages, temples do not provide any certificate - we didn't produce any certificate
7. Rs. 100/- in case of Hindu Marriage Act and Rs.150/- in case of Special Marriage Act to be deposited with the cashier of District and the receipt should be attached with the application form - We took this receipt - don't forget to get the slip for Rs 100 - the BABU would also provide you the date on which you need to appear for the final Certificate signature
8. Affirmation that the parties are not related to each other within the prohibited degree of relationship as per Hindu Marriage Act or Special Marriage Act as the case may be. - This was part of affidavit and need not be provided separately
9. Attested copy of divorce decree/order in case of a divorcee and death certificate of spouse in case of widow/widower - NA for us
10. In case one of the parties belong to other than Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh religions, a conversion certificate from the priest who solemnized the marriage(in case of Hindu Marriage Act).- NA for us
These were the usual steps written on the website - http://delhi.gov.in/wps/wcm/connect/doit/Delhi+Govt/Community/Marriage+Certificate+and+Registration#1
Once we went to the DO of Kapashera, we tried finding out the place where marriage certificates are done. Greeted by a 20 yrs old girl in a 10*10 Sq Ft room with 4 tables and 4 people - could not make out which one is peon as even he was sitting on one desk. He needs to be treated like an officer indeed ;) That girl asked us to fill up one Witness form with Witness details (Pan Card copy) and Residential proof (please get this along with other documents - we had gazetted signature residential certificate - but you might take bank passbook, voter card, driver license, etc) for the witness (just one is required - preferably Father or Mother - more credible). Post that the girl checked all the documents and asked us to paste the passport photos of both of us on a plain paper along with the Marriage picture (where our faces were visible) - all should be attested beforehand. Usually on the first day, only husband/wife can go and submit all documents, but I would suggest to take Witness also along with you to fill up Witness forms and PAN Card submission (copy).
All the certificates you bring should be already attested by gazetted officer. If not attested, then you might have to stand in line in other counter where other officer sits, who will do this signature for you seeing all your originals with a fee (not sure about this as we never had to visit him/her) - bottom line - everything will be done if you have originals with you. As your ID proof, you can take your and wife's pan card (attested).
Main issue comes with residential certificate - as nothing is written on the website of Delhi Government also as to what should be ideal one - only VOTER ID CARD is written - which 90% of guys don't have. BABU might say - you have been living in Delhi for so long and how come you don't have Voter's ID - as if he carries all proofs - :P Anyway - ignore his remarks with cool mind! "Beg" is what you can do - or ask him for the certificates alternatives - he will give some or other ideas - if your wife is smart, she would be able to handle him/her ;). If you take longer time between your marriage date and getting certificate, these guys create more problems.
Once the girl was over with her checking - and bringing some odd points for rejection - for which we argued till she succumbed and transferred the application to the other lady (45 yrs old) across her table with one computer and printer with loads of hard copy files. Even she raised some issues on residential certificate but we produced all in time on the same day before 1pm (we entered at 10:30am). Post her checks she transferred the file to the BABU officer - who again raised one point on residential certificate but that was taken care by his own alternative of UID receipt (its 15 min job to get this receipt in Delhi and we already had this done a week back in Dwarka). Finally Rs 100 was taken from us (Hindu Marriage) and date was given for some Tuesday or Friday (only these 2 days marriage officer comes for signature) after 8-10 days. We were asked to come on this date with one Witness who has Pan card. These guys would call you a day in advance if anything is still missing to bring it along with you on the d day - try to have all attested.
Final day of signature, everything was moving very fast. That 40yrs old lady greeted us with a smiled as if nothing had happened. She took our application and asked us to enter our names and addresses (both of us and witness) in a register with Peon (came to know later that he was peon ;P). She produced a print out of the form and asked us to check the names and details and sign the form (we didn't have wife name change - if you require this you can raise a request here). We did this and finally the BABU checked it and got 2 print outs (original of Marriage Certificate) :D.
Now only thing was signature of the marriage office - who sits in a conference room. All the guys who wanted to get the certificates would sit in that big room (open - not secluded for bribes). We could see everyone sitting in that room around a big round table. Marriage officer came after some time and the BABU started calling each one's name as per the list present with him - we were at No. 3. Marriage officer asked our names and date on which marriage was done, checked all certificates in 2-3 minutes time and then signed the certificate. Post that we thanked him and got the hologram pasted on the 2 certificates (they give one extra in case you lose one) :P
That was the moment of happiness and completion of tedious process (may be not so tedious after completion). Now next - having the entry of spouse name on our passports - which is supposed to be one day process it seems - still waiting for the right moment to get this done.. lazy guys sleeping again for last minute work... zzzzzzzzzzzzz..... ;)