NEW DELHI: In a significant move, the government on Thursday decided to bring a Bill that would make registration of marriages compulsory under the law.
This would make the recording of births and deaths, irrespective of religious affiliation, mandatory and will be instrumental in extending legal protection to inter-religious marriages. The proposal will be brought in Parliament in the form of an amendment to the registration of Birth and Death Act, 1969 and a Bill in this regard will be introduced in the second half of the Budget session. It will also bring an amendment to the Anand Marriage Act, 1909, which would provide for registration of marriages of Sikhs, fulfilling a long-standing demand of the community.
While marriages of Sikhs along with those of Buddhists and Jains are presently registered under the Hindu Marriage Act; Muslims, Parsis, Christians and Jews have separate Acts for registration of their marriages. Necessary provisions have also been made to avoid duplication of registration of marriages both under the proposed central legislation and state laws.
The registration of marriages under the proposed amendment would, however, not affect any right recognised or acquired by any party to marriage under any law, custom or usage.
With this decision, the existing administrative mechanisms will be able to carry out such registration of marriages in accordance with the specified procedures and be able to maintain necessary records and statistics for registration of marriages.