Perneet Singh, Tribune News Service
Amritsar, May 13. Even as the debate over the absence of divorce clause in the Anand Marriage Amendment Bill 2012 continues, Khalsa College principal and legal luminary Daljeet Singh has prepared the draft of a ‘Sikh Marriage Act, 2012’.
The Chief Khalsa Diwan intends to send this draft to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for “further action”.
Talking to The Tribune, Daljeet Singh said he was entrusted with the responsibility of preparing the draft of a marriage Act for Sikhs during a meeting of the Chief Khalsa Diwan in September last year.
He said he had already apprised Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh of the need for the Sikhs to have a ‘complete’ marriage Act.
Dwelling on the draft, Daljeet said it had all the provisions, which made it ‘complete’. He said the draft had been prepared keeping in view the Sikh maryada (code of conduct). It thoroughly dealt with issues like the definition of Sikh and ‘Anand Karaj’, divorce, alimony and property rights. The draft did not provide for gay marriages.
Daljeet Singh said a separate marriage Act for Sikhs was not a political demand but a legal one as also a constitutional right of the community. He said other already minorities had separate laws: “The Muslims have the Muslim Personal Law and the Christians the Christian Marriage Act, 1872, and the Christian Divorce Act.”
On the Anand Marriage Act, 1909, he said the Act came into being at a time when there was a lot of confusion regarding the rituals performed during Anand Karaj. The Act gave recognition to the ‘Anand Karaj’ ceremony being performed in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib.
However, Sikh marriages continued to be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act. “The Anand Marriage Act has been force since then and the amendment being made now will facilitate registration of Sikh marriages under the Act. However, this is not a complete Act and shortcomings will remain even after the amendment,” Daljeet Singh maintained.
The draft prepared by him will be presented at the Chief Khalsa Diwan meeting on May 15 and then sent to the Prime Minister after due deliberations.
A Bill granting validity to Sikh marriages solemnised under the Anand Marriage Act was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on May 7 by Minister of Law and Justice Salman Khurshid.