Bowing to a long-standing demand of the Sikhs, the government is planning to bring in a separate law governing marriages in the community. Currently, marriages of Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains are governed under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
Union Law Minister HR Bhardwaj told the Rajya Sabha on Monday that the government has taken note of demands in this regard from various Sikh organisations and "there should not be a problem" in introducing such an act.
"We will bring it soon," he said, replying to supplementary questions.
Various Sikh bodies, including the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) have been demanding separate law governing the marriages in the community. They argue that Sikhism is a separate religion and solemnization of their marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 was not proper.
Expressing gratitude to the UPA government, S Paramjit Singh Sarna, president of the Gurudwara Management Committee, said, “We are happy that UPA chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are sensitive towards our demand. We want that the Sikh marriages be registered under the act meant for the community and not under the Hindu Marriage Act, as it is presently.”
While some experts says that the Sikh Marriage Act will not be significantly different from the Hindu Marriage Act, S Manjit Singh Khaira, senior advocate at the Punjab High Court who had drafted the proposal for the Sikh Marriage Act for Pakistan said, “In the Act for Sikhs only some Hindu specific sections have been removed, the rest of it is exactly the same.” According to Khaira, the Hindu Marriage Act is all encompassinga s it has a provision making it applicable to Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains as well.
However, Sarna said the Sikh Marriage Act is different and will mention the marriage conditions specific to the Sikh community.
With inputs from and agencies