To make it easier for couples to get their marriages registered before going abroad, the government proposes to make the procedure simple and quick by providing them an additional option through changes in the existing law.
The law ministry is giving final touches to its note, which seeks to amend the four decade-old Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1969, by including the registration of marriages in it.
The ministry is set to make its recommendation to the cabinet, with a new option to allow registration of marriages without mentioning the religion, in addition to the existing practice of religion based certificate.
Couples who wish to register under the Hindu Marriage Act will be free to do so, and 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 ministry is proposing an additional option for "quick and religion neutral" marriage registrations.
The proposal is based on the fact that infrastructure for the registration of births and deaths is already available and only addition of marriage registration to this law is required.
"This step will allow couples to get registered without mentioning their religion on the certificates," said a ministry official.
"It has been pointed out that around five million Sikh NRIs face problems abroad as their marriage certificates are made under the Hindu marriage law. Many countries recognise Sikhism as a separate religion and this leaves them in an awkward situation," the official said.
The move also likely to benefit Jains and Buddhists, who are issued certificates under the Hindu law. But the ministry is opposed to accepting demands from individual religions to make changes in the marriage registration law.