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Marriages can be registered in virtual presence

New Delhi,  On hearing a plea by a US-based Indian couple seeking to register their marriage here through video conferencing, Justice Rekha Palli opined that not treating physical presence as a mandatory requirement would also encourages parties to easily get their marriages registered.

Delhi High Court has ruled that now marriages can be registered in the virtual presence of parties. They said that in the present times, citizens cannot be prevented from exercising their rights because of a rigid interpretation of law which calls for “personal presence”.

“I have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that the term ‘personal appearance’ in Clause 4 of the Registration Order has to be read to include presence secured through Video Conferencing. Any other interpretation, would not only frustrate the very purpose of this beneficial legislation, but, it would also undermine the use of this important and easily accessible tool of Video Conferencing,” the judge said in her order dated September 9.

She said the Delhi (Compulsory Registration of Marriage) Order, 2014 is welfare legislation, promulgated at the instance the Supreme Court to encourage the registration of marriages.

The court allowed the couple to mark their “personal appearance” before the Registering Authority through video conferencing after submitting their application for the registration of marriage through their counsel/Power of Attorney Holder in physical form alongwith copies of all supporting documents duly notarized, either by the notary public in the United States of America or by a notary public here.

The couple, represented through senior counsel Vibha Datta Makhija, moved the high court after their representation to the authority concerned for virtual appearance remained unanswered.

The court observed that while the “universe has undergone a sea change” since the time when the Registration Order was notified, the Registering Authority was “refusing to recognize the reality that with the technology as is available today, web portals and Video Conferencing have become almost the norm”.