How to Obtain a Death Certificate

A death certificate is a document that certifies that the said person is deceased. It is a vital document to claim ownership of assets of deceased and contains the details as to the place, time and cause of death. A legal heir or a relative can obtain the death certificate of a deceased by establishing a proof of relationship.

Thu Jun 30 2022 | HLL Knowledge Series | Comments (0)


A death certificate is a documentary proof for the death of a person, and it cause. Under the Civil Registration System of India, the registration of births and deaths became mandatory after independence and is carried out under the provisions of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969. Death of a person must be registered, and the death certificate must be obtained by the legal heirs of the deceased. A death certificate certifying that a person is deceased can be issued either by a medical practitioner or the registrar of vital statistics. A death certificate may be required to ascertain the cause, time, date and place of death of the deceased, for transfer of ownership of assets – movable and immovable in the name of the legal heirs after the demise, to claim insurance and other benefits, etc.

A death certificate usually contains the contents such as the full name of the deceased, address, date of birth, father’s name, mother’s name, marital status, details of the surviving spouse, date, place and time of death, cause of death etc. The said details might vary from state to state.

The death must be registered within 21 days from the date of demise of an individual. The death of an individual must be reported by the concerned authority – wherever it took place. For example, if the death occurred in the hospital, the attending doctor is responsible to report the date, time and place of death. If the death occurs in jail, the jail in charge must report the death of the prisoner. When the death is registered within 21 days of its occurrence, it is free of cost. However, after the said period, but within 30 days of its occurrence, a fine shall be paid and the Medical Officer will certify the said certificate. If a death has to be registered after 30 days but within (1) one year, only the Joint Director of Statistics can provide the certificate with a fine and an affidavit. After passing of one (1) year, the applicant can get the certificate by order of a first-class magistrate, for which the applicant will need the Cause of Death Certificate, Cremation Certificate and an Affidavit.

If there are some corrections that need to be done in a death certificate issued for a deceased, it must be noticed by the legal heirs/relatives before the cremation rights are allowed by the Municipal Authorities, as at such a stage, the doctor can fix such irregularities without any difficulties or a long procedure. However, if an error has to be fixed after cremation, it involves a legal process, as the legal heir or relatives will need to get the errors fixed through a time taking procedure. The errors must be corrected in time, else the insurance claims, gratuity, provident fund, etc. remain unsettled, causing a lot of inconvenience to members of the family of the deceased.

If the death certificate is either lost or mutilated, one can obtain a copy of the death certificate which is as good as the original. A search is carried out and if the records are available in the local registrar office, a declaration form must be filled with the local registrar, and the same shall be obtained.

Documentary Requirements:

While applying for the certificate, a proof of relationship must be established with the deceased and the following documents must be submitted-

  1. Filled in application form and the fee
  2. Proof of birth of the deceased
  3. An affidavit specifying the time and date of the death
  4. A copy of the ration card.
  5. Aaddhar Card, etc.

A death certificate can also be applied online, for example, in New Delhi, one can obtain the death certificate from the official web site of Municipal Corporation of Delhi after entering the necessary information and submitting the documents.

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