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Kerala HC allows registration of marriage over video conferencing

The Kerala High Court has made marriage registrations much easier, dispensing with the need tomeander through crowds. Now all that is required is “video conferencing”, as the High Court waived off the requirement of physical presence of the couple for registrations.

The Kerala High Court made this possible while it was hearing plea of a 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 organisation’s office in the United States of America, after having worked in another country for the same company.

The couple needed their marriage certificate for submission to authorities in US for obtaining permanent residency there and had applied for the same through their power-of-attorney holder back in Kerala. However, the authority in Kerala refused to grant it to them citing physical absence as the reason.

What added to their woes was the fact that they had filed a petition in court after changes in the US immigration policy and feared that if they left the US to register their marriage, they may not be allowed to re-enter.

The Kerala High Court stance came as a great relief to them as court solved the matter by holding that “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 HC placed reliance on an order of the Supreme Court, which permitted video conferencing during trials in criminal cases.

The Delhi High Court had earlier also ruled that marriage certificates can be issued via video conferencing. Justice Manmohan had observed, “If marriages can be held via Facebook and divorces over Twitter, marriage certificates can be issued via video-conferencing.”

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