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Published On:14 August 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Marriage registration to become mandatory

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill to make registration of marriages, irrespective of religion, mandatory under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, which currently only regulates registration of births and deaths.

The amendment to the bill seeks to amend the Act to include the registration of marriages within its purview.

The Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2012, which was passed by voice vote, defines marriage to include marriage solemnized between a male and female belonging to any caste or religion. It also includes re-marriage.

Marriages already registered under the Anand Marriage Act, state laws or any other existing law are not required to be registered under the Bill.

Moving the amendment bill for consideration and passing, the law minister Kapil Sibal said the government will file a review petition in the Supreme Court against its earlier order in 2006 where it had sought to scrutinize the law after it was passed by Parliament.

"The Supreme Court had rendered this judgment in 2006 that the law once passed in Parliament must be placed before the court for scrutiny. We are not entirely happy with this direction...We will be filing a review petition. This part of judgment should be expunged," Sibal said.

Noting that there were enormous benefits of registering marriages, the minister said people should not be penalized for not doing the registration. There is "enough leeway" in the Act and state governments are free to make rules. The Bill is not quasi-judicial power for determining whether marriages are valid or invalid, he said in response to the debate on the bill.

The amendment bill will benefit women as the registration certificate would provide evidential value in matrimonial and maintenance cases and prevent unnecessary harassment meted out to them. It will also provide evidential value in matters of age of parties, custody of children and right of children born out of such marriages.

Muslim community leaders welcomed the move to register marriages, but with a rider. Zafarul-Islam Khan, president, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM) — an umbrella body of Muslim organizations — said, "This is a welcome move by the government."

However, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board working committee member S Q R Ilyas said registration of marriages should be optional and not compulsory due to social and legal reasons. "A large chunk of our population lives in rural areas where facilities for registration are hard to come by. Also, think about the poor. Unless the government ensures that marriage registration facilities are accessible to all, it should not be compulsory," he said.

Besides, Muslim marriages are solemnized by a qazi or imam. "The government should have a provision to recognize the qazi or the imam who issues the nikahnama," said Ilyas.

(Courtesy: The Times of India)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on August 14, 2013. Filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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