Thursday, March 08, 2012

To register, with love.

Registering a marriage in Gurgaon is a little understood process. It is also amongst the most convoluted ones I have ever come across. This post is meant to guide other frustrated souls who choose to follow this path.

Recent Supreme Court legislation makes the registration of all marriages compulsory. While my wife and I were married in Delhi, we are residents of Gurgaon, having lived here for over four years.

The first person we approached in Delhi quoted us a fee in double-digit thousands, without battering an eyelid to 'facilitate' the process. Looking at our stumped faces, he quoted a rule that mandates a 6-month Delhi residence for a registration. Much later, we realized that Cabinet mandates make it possible for non-residents married in Delhi to register without the 6-month requirement (here's the Gazette notification), but no one in the ADM's office has a clue that this is possible yet.

So we tried Gurgaon next. The new Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon's website claims that it is possible to register the marriage online (!) with a fee of just Rs. 100. But mind you, that service doesn't work, as yet. So we had to take the offline route.

As registration is a state subject,  local governments adopt their own rules. Haryana has one of the more retrograde ones in this matter, which among others, requires a blood relative from either side to be present as witness (why? aren't we adults yet?). For itinerant's like us, with no blood relatives lounging around in Gurgaon, this was a pain to manage.

Still more painful was the process itself. Despite the presence of a tech-savvy Citizen Facilitation Center (CFC), it takes a total for 2+ months and and infinite patience to complete.

Why? Consider the 8-step process below that requires one to shuttle between the CFC (which is in front of the Civil Hospital), the Court (near Rajiv Chowk) and the MCG Office (at Civil Lines).

1. Go to the citizen facilitation center (CFC) of the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) and collect the registration forms and the process checklist. The CFC works 9am-5pm, 7 days a week. 
2. Fill the registration forms and affidavits (one each from either blood-relative and witness, with photograph and id, address proofs)
3. Go to the State Bank office at the Gurgaon Court at pay Rs. 100/- and collect the challan.
4. At the Court, get the Court Fees and Stamps done on documents provided as part of the registration forms, and get everything notarized.
5. Go to the MCG office and get the challan stamped.
6. Submit the filled forms at the CFC, and obtain the witness certification date.
7. Complete the witness formalities at the MCG office at the appointed.
8. Collect the registration certificate from the MCG office at a subsequent date.

For those who choose to follow this path: (a) The CFC is very helpful, but make sure you clarify all process requirements clearly at this office. Or you would be left shuttling between the offices for the smallest of issues. Ask me about it. (b) Court stamps and fees are not the same, despite looking deceptively similar! (c) Folks at the MCG office are very helpful, but overloaded too. But make them your friends, for the process to work with ease. (d) 'Facilitators' at each place will scare you with the complexity of the process, but a patient and thorough approach will ensure that you can get the registration done by spending a few hundreds instead of double-digit thousands.
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