Death Certificate – Procedure, Documents and How to apply Explained?

Death Certificate is a legal document evidencing the death of a person and do have evidentiary value in the Court of law. It is issued by the Government to the deceased’s closest relatives declaring the date, fact and cause of death. Why registration is essential?

  • To demonstrate the time and date of death.
  • To establish the reality of death in order to relieve the person from social, legal and official responsibilities.
  • To allow property inheritance to be settled.
  • To allow the family to get the insured amount from insurance companies etc..

It is mandatory under the Indian law by virtue of the Registration of Births & Deaths Act, 1969 to report and register every death with the concerned State Government/ Union Territory Government within prescribed time i.e. 21 days of the occurrence of death. Every State government/ Union Territory government has established a well-defined system to ensure convenience in the registration of death. Click here to get more information about death certificate.

Concerned Authorities

  • The Registrar General, India at the Center
  • The Chief Registrars in States
  • District Registrars

Procedures to Obtain a Death Certificate

A death may be recorded and registered by the head of the family if it happens in a house; by the medical in-charge if it happens in a hospital; by the prison in-charge if it happens in a prison; and by the village head or the local police station in-charge if the body is discovered to be deserted in that region.

Before applying for a death certificate, the first essential is to register the death of a deceased person. Death must be recorded with the local authorities involved by filling in the form prescribed by the Registrar within 21 days of its occurrence. After appropriate verification, the death certificate is granted.

If a death is not reported within 21 days of its occurrence, the Registrar/ Area Magistrate’s authorization is needed, together with the fee prescribed for late registration.

Usually, the application form in which you are needed to apply is accessible with local authority officials in the area, or with the Registrar who retains the Death Register.

Other Documents Required

  • Evidence of the deceased’s birth
  • An affidavit mentioning the date and time of death
  • Copy of the ration card
  • Prescribed payment (in the form of stamps/court fees)

Special Procedure to be followed (in Delhi)

Any death shall be reported and registered in the prescribed reporting forms within 21 days at the location of its occurrence.

Registration of Death – Who will register?

1. When the death took place in a house: Registration must be done by the head of that house or the closest relative of the head or the eldest person present in the family.

2. When the death has taken place outside the house:

i. If died in Hospital/Health Centre, Maternity Home or other like institutions – registration to be made by Medical Officer In charge or any officer authorised by him
ii. In a Jail – Jail In charge
iii. In a Hospital, Dharmshala, Boarding House – Person In charge
iv. In moving Vehicle – Person In charge Where the death has occurred at home in an urban area
v. Found in a public place – Headman of the village or In charge of the local police station


Local bodies, namely MCD, NDMC, Delhi Cantonment Board, issue death certificates in Delhi within 7 days of the applicant’s receipt of the application, provided that the death has already been registered. The certificates are awarded from the local authority’s registration centres/zonal offices. The details are as below.

Delhi Municipal Corporation – Number of Centres – 188 Centres
In urban areas – 137 Centres and in rural areas – 51 Centres

In Delhi, Deputy Health Officer of each Municipal Zone is appointed and designated as Registrar of Births & Deaths. The vaccinators or paramedical staffs generally act as Sub-Registrars.

1. Domiciliary Cases

i. In an urban area, registration needs to be done at the vaccination centre of the area where death has occurred at home.
ii. In a rural area, registration needs to be done at health centres or vaccination centre of area where death has occurred at home.

Note: You may find the registration centres in Health Care Centres or Dispensaries or Mother & Child Welfare Centre in rural areas.

2. Other Cases

Registration of death in case of death occurring in a hospital, nursing home and for other cases – It is done at the office of the Delhi Municipal Corporation in the zone where these institutions are located.

In the case of Moving Vehicle – The location of first place of a halt of the vehicle shall be the place of registration and registration must be done at the registration centre of that area.