Sunday 20 August 2023

Highlights of The Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Act, 2023

 The Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 provides for the regulation and registration of births and deaths.  The registration of births and deaths falls under the Concurrent List, giving powers to both Parliament and state legislatures to make laws on the subject.[1]  As of 2019, the national level of registration of births was 93% and death registration was at 92%.[2]   The Law Commission (2018) recommended the inclusion of marriage registration in the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969.[3] 

The Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2023 seeks to amend the 1969 Act.  It was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 26, 2023.  

Key Features of the Bill

  • Database of births and deaths: The Act provides for the appointment of a Registrar-General, India who may issue general directions for registration of births and deaths.  The Bill adds that the Registrar General will maintain a national database of registered births and deaths.  The Chief Registrars (appointed by states) and Registrars (appointed by states for local area jurisdiction) will be obligated to share data of registered births and deaths to the national database.  The Chief Registrar shall maintain a similar database at the state level.

  • Electronic certificates:  The Act provides that any person may: (i) cause a search to be made by the Registrar for any entry in a register of births and deaths, and (ii) obtain an extract from the register related to any birth or death.  The Bill amends this to provide for obtaining a birth or death certificate (electronically or otherwise) instead of extracts.

  • Aadhaar details of parents and informants required:  The Act requires certain persons to report births and deaths to the Registrar.  For example, the medical officer in charge of a hospital where a baby is born must report the birth.  The Bill adds that, in cases of births, the specified persons shall also provide the Aadhaar number of the parents and the informant.  This provision also applies to: (i) jailor in case of births in a jail, and (ii) manager of a hotel or lodge in case of births in such a place.  Further, it expands the list of specified persons to include: (i) adoptive parents for non-institutional adoption, (ii) biological parent for births through surrogacy, and (iii) the parent in case of birth of a child to a single parent or unwed mother.

  • Connecting database: The Bill states that the national database may be made available to other authorities preparing or maintaining other databases.  Such databases include: (i) population register, (ii) electoral rolls, (iii) ration card, and (iv) any other national databases as notified.   The use of the national database must be approved by the central government.  Similarly, the state database may be made available to authorities dealing with other state databases, subject to state government approval.

  • Use of birth certificate: The Bill requires the use of birth and death certificates to prove the date and place of birth for persons born on or after this Bill comes into effect.  The information will be used for purposes including: (i) admission to an educational institution, (ii) preparation of voter lists, (iii) appointment to a government post, and (iv) any other purpose determined by the central government.

  • Appeal process: Any person aggrieved by any action or order of the Registrar or District Registrar may appeal to the District Registrar or Chief Registrar, respectively.  Such an appeal must be made within 30 days from receipt of such action or order.  The District Registrar or Chief Registrar must give their decision within 90 days from the date of appeal.

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