High Court directs Registrar of Marriages to Record Divorces as well

The Registrar of Marriage is bound to record the Divorce in the Register maintained by him on a divorce ordered by a competent court, the Kerala High Court has held.

As per now, there is no provision under the Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules, 2008 for recording the Divorce.

In this case, the petitioner had obtained a Divorce from a Foreign Court. The question that came up in the case was whether the Registrar had the powers to record the Divorce or cancel the registration of marriage, Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque noted.

The “question of cancellation of registration of marriage does not arise in those circumstances where the marriage is a valid one. However, when a record that shows that the marriage subsists, exists in public domain, it would infringe the Civil Rights of the parties concerned,” the Court noted.

The party has every right to insist on recording the divorce in the register in which the marriage has been registered. Otherwise, public record would show that the marriage subsists, the Court said.

The Court noted that the Authority to register includes the authority to add, amend, vary or rescind the registration and this power flows from Section 21 of the General Clauses Act. 1897, it said.

Acting upon the divorce ordered by a competent court, the Registrar is bound to record the divorce in the register maintained by him, the Court held.

The Court directed the Registrar to record the divorce after issuing a notice to the former wife of the petitioner.

If there is any dispute regarding the validity of the divorce, the Registrar can’t record such divorce in the register without an order from the competent court, the judgment said.

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