Marriage registration will now become easier, as the Kerala High Court has waived off the requirement for the couple to be physically present for the process. The court ruled that the couple can appear via video conferencing as well.
The court reportedly observed that earlier, it was necessary for the couple to appear in person to ensure that the marriage was registered with their knowledge.
The High Court said that as per the Local Registrar of Marriages under the Kerala Registration of Marriages (Common) Rules of 2008, the couple does not necessarily have to be present in front of the Registrar. The court said that the presence of a person residing in another country can be ensured via video conferencing.
This ruling came after the Kerala HC heard the plea of Kollam-native Pradeep Kodiveedu Cleetus and his wife Beryl Pradeep, who presently reside in the US. Pradeep and Beryl got married at a church in Kadavoor, Kerala in 2000. Pradeep had reportedly been living with his family since 2001 in Ireland. In 2016, he moved to the US under an L-1 visa, which allows such foreign workers to relocate to the organisationâ€™s office in the United States of America, after having worked in another country for the same company.
The couple was required to submit their marriage certificate for obtaining permanent residency in the US and they applied for the same through their power-of-attorney holder. However, the authority in Kerala refused to grant it to them, as they were not physically present at the time.
The couple is said to have filed a petition in court after changes in the US immigration policy. They feared that if they left the US to register their marriage, they may not be allowed to re-enter.
"If the purpose of the Rule which insists personal appearance of the parties to the marriage could be ensured by video conferencing, there shall not be any impediment for the court in interpreting the provisions in such a way as permitting insistence of personal appearance through video conferencing," the Kerala High Court judgement said.
The Kerala HC cited an order of the Supreme Court, which permitted video conferencing during trials in criminal cases.
The court ruling said that the power holder must make the arrangements for the video conference and must also sign the register of marriage.
In 2014, the Delhi High Court, too, had ruled that marriage certificates can be issued via video conferencing.