Kerala High Court allows NRI couple to register Marriage via Video Conferencing

Kriti Agrawal

Due to travel limitations in the country, the Kerala High Court has allowed a couple living in Australia to register their marriage under the Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules, 2008 via video conferencing.

After being advised by the Local Registrar of Marriages that their personal appearance is required to execute the marriage, petitioners Thomas Kutty Joseph and Blosum Thomas sought the High Court through their Power of Attorney.

According to Advocate Jacob P. Alex, who was representing the petitioner, the marriage was solemnized on 30.6.1997, as proved by their Marriage Certificate, and they had three children in their matrimony.

As per the appeal, they recently arrived in Australia on a temporary visa from the United Arab Emirates. They were obliged to show their marriage registration certificate to process their application for permanent status due to a change in immigration laws.

Furthermore, the Local Registrar was merely required to send the memorandum to the appropriate body. The Registrar General of Marriage is in charge of marriage registration.

While observing the situation Justice C. S. Dias held that, “In this extraordinary case, strict adherence to the procedure cannot be demanded. In light of the unique facts and circumstances of this case, I believe that the petitioners should be allowed to register their marriage via video conferencing, be represented by their power of attorney, and, if necessary, sign applications and other documents using digital signatures, which would satisfy the statutory requirements.”

The writ petition was granted, but only with the condition that:

i.            The memorandum will be forwarded to the proper authority for the applicants’ marriage to be registered. 

ii.         The petitioners’ Power of Attorney holder must produce a copy of the POA and file an affidavit saying that he has been properly authorized by the petitioners to sign the marriage register, as well as all other applications and paperwork.

iii.            On receipt of the memorandum, the Registrar General of Marriage shall authorize the POA holder to sign for and on behalf of the petitioners in any relevant registers, applications, and documents foreseen by the rules.

iv.            If necessary, the Registrar General of Marriage will communicate with the petitioners via video conferencing or acquire an undertaking from the petitioners by e-mail or a physical copy to be supplied by the courier.

v.              Once the identification of the petitioners and their POA has been established, the Registrar General of Marriage will register the petitioners’ marriage and issue the Marriage Certificate to the petitioners’ POA holder as soon as feasible.

vi.            The POA holder is allowed to present a copy of this judgment to the respondents in order to ensure proper compliance.

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