Making registration of marriages quicker and simpler, the Union cabinet on Thursday cleared a law ministry proposal stating that couples would not be required to mention their religion for obtaining wedding registration certificates if they do not wish to do so.
The cabinet also approved an amendment in a 100-year-old law, allowing Sikhs to register marriages that were solemnised under the Anand Marriage Act-1909. The latest government move on marriage registration was reported first by HT on Jan 16.
The government will move two bills in the second half of the budget session, beginning from April 23, to amend the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1969, and the Anand Marriage Act to include clauses on registration of marriages in them.
“A suitable amendment will ensure that necessary records and statistics for marriage registration will be easily maintained,” a release said.
The ministry has made it clear that the new option of allowing registration of marriages without mentioning the religion will be in addition to the existing practice of religion-based certificates. While couples who wish to register under the Hindu Marriage Act will be free to do so, those marrying outside their religions or against the wishes of their families will continue to have the option of registering under the Special Marriage Act.
The new option will be for “quick and religion neutral” marriage registrations.
With regard to the Anand Marriage Act, the government was under pressure from the Sikh community to allow them to register their marriages separately. At present, Sikh marriages are registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, which creates problems for people in countries where Sikhism is treated as a separate religion.
As this law defines marriages among Sikhs and provides legal validity to the marriage ceremony, the cabinet accepted the proposal to implement it.