CHENNAI: On a daily basis, an article or any piece of news goes viral on social media, with little concern for whether the news is even factual. This week it’s a message on WhatsApp that’s most likely targeted at couple who want to marry against their parents’ wishes. How else would you explain the absurdity of this message, which claims that it’s mandatory for the parents of the couple to be present and also sign on the marriage registration form, for the wedding to be legal?!
It also wrongly claims that the government had brought about a change in the Marriage Act which made it compulsory for the parents of the bride to be present at the ceremony and sign on the registration form with effect from June 1. If not both the parents, the message reads, at least the mother’s signature was essential. It also claims the change had been made due to the increase in the number of husbands abandoning their wives or cheating them after marriage.
The viral Whatsapp message also declared there were many newlywed brides who committed suicide after getting duped. It also stated many parents end up killing themselves unable to face the shame and social ridicule and the message sender accused the media of staying quiet on these suicides.
However, like many other viral messages, this one held no truth. The Marriage Act only states the bride and groom have to sign on a registration form, but only if the marriage needs to be registered. Various marriage laws pertaining to Hindus, Muslims or Christians don’t demand a registration if the couple is from the same religion.
Marriages under the Special Marriages Act have to be registered one month in advance and the notice of the marriage would be put up on the notice boards of marriage halls in the places of the couple’s origin. But the parents are not expected to be physically present during the formalities.