Press Trust of India
NEW DELHI, Feb. 26. — With the Supreme Court issuing directives for making registration of marriage compulsory, the National Commission for Women has forwarded to the Centre a draft Bill for the purpose that would apply to all Indian citizens irrespective of religion. The draft Bill for ‘Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act, 2005’, sent to the ministry of women and child development, proposes mandatory registration of all marriages irrespective of religion or caste of either party within 30 days of the wedding.
The proposed law, which, if enacted would be a Central legislation that would include marriages performed as per law or custom, practice or any tradition as well as remarriages. The parties to a marriage shall prepare and sign a memorandum of marriage, to be presented to the local area registrar of marriages.
The certificate issued to them shall be conclusive proof of their marriage, and be received by any court, government of public authority. The Central government, it states, shall appoint a registrar-general of marriages, India, while at the state level, a chief registrar of marriages shall be appointed.
The registration set-up would include the district registrar, marriages as also the registrar, marriages, the latter empowered to register a marriage contracted or solemnised within the local area under his or her jurisdiction. “Non-registration of marriage affects women the most. Women, most prominently victims of bigamous relationships and property disputes, face enormous hardship in establishing their marriage as they have no proof of it,” the commission said in its statement of object and reasons for the law.
No marriage, however, shall be deemed to be invalid solely by reason of the fact that it was not registered under the law. The Supreme Court had earlier this month directed the Centre and state governments to take steps for amending the rules and procedures within three weeks for making registration of marriage compulsory irrespective of religion.
The court delivered the judgment after taking into consideration the views of the NCW which has favoured a Central legislation on registration of marriages to weed out the lacunae existing in state legislation. The issue of introduction of legislation for compulsory registration of marriages has been under consideration of the government for more than 15 years. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh have enacted legislation for registration of marriages.