A Detailed Procedure to Apply for a Death Certificate In India

In distress of the death of a loved one, we should not forget to register the death as it is important to register the same in order to maintain the government records. The government issues a death certificate which is a legal document that keeps a record of the date, fact and cause of death of the person. It is issued to the nearest kin of the deceased. It is mandatory to register a death under the Registration of Births & Deaths Act, 1969 within 21 days of its occurrence. In this regard, a detailed procedure for death certificate has been laid down wherein a death has to be registered with the Chief Registrar at the state level and with the District and village level registrars at the lower level.

Need for obtaining a Death Certificate

  • It stipulates the date, time and place of death of the person.
  • It mentions about the cause of the death of the person.
  • The death certificate alleviates the legal, financial and social obligations on the person.
  • Through the death certificate, the family members can apply for insurance, bank details and other benefits.

The death can be registered by whom?

  • If the death has occurred in the house, then it is the responsibility of the head of the house or the next kin to register the death at the concerned Registrar’s Office.
  • If the death occurs outside the house of a person then also it becomes his responsibility to report the same.
  • If the death occurs in the hospital/ health care centre or a maternity home, then it becomes the responsibility of the Medical in-charge/Chief Medical Officer to report the same.
  • In case a death occurs in a jail, it becomes the responsibility of the Jail in-charge to report the same to the concerned authorities.
  • If a death occurs in hospital/Dharamshala/Boarding House, etc then the person in charge has to report the death.
  • If death occurs in a moving vehicle, then the owner or the in charge of the vehicle has to register the death.
  • If a dead body is found deserted in public, then the village headman or the in charge of the local police station has to register the death.

Required Documents and Certificates

The following documents might be required by the registrar while registering a death. These include-

  • A proof needs to be submitted that the death of the person has occurred. This can be established though a letter of the medical practitioner.  In cases where a medical condition is involved, the last attending practitioner is entitled to provide a certificate stating the cause of death without taking any fees from the person requesting the certificate.
  • It is mandatory to submit an application on a plain paper along with other documents.
  • Birth certificate, for proof of age of the deceased person.
  • An Affidavit that specifies the date and time of the occurrence of death needs to be submitted.
  • A duly attested ration card’s copy needs to be submitted.
  • Copy of Aadhar Card.
  • Address proof of the concerned person (Electricity bills, voter ID card etc.).

All these documents must be duly attested. Additional documents to furnish the relationship between the deceased and the person registering the death might also be required.

Requisite Fees to be Paid

    • In case registration is done within 21 days of its occurrence, then no fees is required to be paid.
    • If a death is registered within 21 to 30 days post death, then the death will be registered by the Medical Officer, Health after charging a fine of Rs.25.
    • If the death is registered after 30 days to within one year of death, only the Joint Director of Statistics can register the death and a fine of Rs.50 is charged by him along with an affidavit.


  • If the death is registered after a year, the applicant needs the order of a first-class magistrate to get the death registered. He might also have to submit an affidavit, a certificate stating the cause and a cremation certificate.


Procedure to Obtain a Death Certificate

A death certificate can be obtained both online and offline. To obtain a death certificate, a duly filled application form must be submitted by the applicant to the concerned local authorities. For example, the concerned local authority in case of Delhi is MCD, NDMC, Delhi Cantonment Board. The death has to be registered in the office of the registrar in whose jurisdiction the death took place. The application form can also be downloaded online from the official portal. Registrar on receipt of the form and the requisite documents, will scan it properly and will apply for the death certificate online. Now, the requisite fees need to be paid, after which you will receive a transaction ID. After receiving the completed application form with requisite documents, a draft order is made. Then the application form is sent for verification to the concerned police station. If a positive reply is received from the police station, then the registrar is ordered to register the death.  The issuance of death certificate takes around 5-7 days after the verification.

It is imperative to register a death within 21 days of its occurrence to avoid unnecessary delay and penalty.  An advocate can guide you through the registration process. This will help in reducing the burden at the time of grief.  Looking at the benefits of a death certificate (inheritance, insurance and employment), it must be registered without causing a delay.

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