Jangveer Singh, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 30 The Union Cabinet is set to consider the provision of independent registration of Sikh marriages under the Anand Marriage Act. Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, talking to TNS, said his ministry had made two proposals following complaints by the Sikh community that the amendment to the Act in 2008 did not address their concerns.
The amendment in the Anand Marriage Act in 2008 allowed for a separate register to record Sikh marriages. However, there was criticism that the Anand Marriage Act continued to be part of the Hindu Marriage Act:1955 and should be made a separate Act.
Salman Khurshid said: “We have proposed a Central Act providing for registration of births, deaths and marriages.
Under this, certificates submitted under the Anand Marriage Act could be registered. Alternatively, the provision for separate registration could be provided under the Anand Marriage Act itself.” The Law Minister said that both the proposals had been forwarded to the Home Ministry for consultation.
The ministry was expected to elicit the opinion of various ministers as well as Punjab leaders in Punjab. “Once this is done, the matter will be forwarded to the Cabinet for a decision”, he explained.
The Anand Marriage Act came into being in 1909 following a proposal by Maharaja Ripudaman Singh of Nabha.
Later, the Act became part of the Hindu Marriage Act that grouped Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism as offshoots of Hinduism. Hardeep Singh, SGPC member, said the amendment in 2008 was a mere eyewash.
He said even Pakistan and Bangladesh had separate Anand Marriage Acts and that India should follow suit.
However, Rajya Sabha nember Tarlochan Singh said amending the Hindu Marriage Act would be difficult and that the present amendment met the aspirations of the Sikhs and should be retained as such.