Register your marriage or cough up Rs 10,000 fine

Registration of marriages will soon become mandatory in Delhi. Couples who fail to do so within 60 days of tying the knot will have to pay a penalty of Rs 10,000. The Delhi Cabinet on Monday cleared a draft Bill of revised Delhi Registration of Marriages Bill 2011 that will make marriage registration mandatory for all newly married couples in the Capital.

According to the draft Bill, all the marriages solemnised in Delhi or marriages solemnised outside Delhi involving a person who normally resides in Delhi will come under purview of the proposed legislation. The Bill also seeks to make registration of marriages a simple and hassle-free process as presence of either the husband or wife at the designated offices will be enough for it. In special circumstances, a couple may even authorise their parents for registration of their marriages, provided documentation of the paper work is in order.

Delhi Cabinet had earlier approved the Bill in 2011. The Bill will be introduced in the Budget Session of Delhi Assembly beginning May 28, is being brought with an aim to prevent child marriage, check bigamy or polygamy, enable widows to claim right on property and to ensure that deserted women get their rights like financial help and custody of children from their estranged husbands.

Registration of marriage will take place in the office of Registrar of Marriages in whose jurisdiction either the husband or wife resides or in whose jurisdiction the marriage is solemnised. As per existing norms, presence of both is required for registration of marriage. Couples facing threat of khap (clan) panchayats in neighbouring States will also be able to get their marriages registered in the city. If a marriage is solemnised abroad, and if the husband or wife resides in Delhi, then such marriages would also have to be registered, as per the draft Bill. The Bill envisages registration of all marriages, be it under Hindu Marriage Act, Special Marriage Act or any other Act.

Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh have already made marriage registration compulsory. The Bill once becomes law will make mandatory registration of all marriages in Delhi. Presently, there is no such law, at present to provide for compulsory registration of marriage in the country.

The draft Bill is being brought in to ensure that deserted women get financial help and custody of children from their estranged husbands. Couples who register under personal laws which provide for registration of marriages need not register again.

The Bill proposes Rs 10 for registration form and Rs 50 for registration within prescribed days. “Any person secreting, destroying or dishonestly or fraudulently altering the marriage register or any part thereof shall on conviction be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and shall also be liable to fine,” the Bill said.

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Court allows woman to marry against family’s wish

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has allowed a woman to marry and live with a man who was rejected by her parents as he belonged to a different caste. The woman alleged she was confined at home by her parents.

A division bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Siddharth Mridul Tuesday permitted the two to get married and live together after the woman refused to go back to her parent’s home.

The court’s order came on a plea of the woman’s friend Vipin Kumar, 25, seeking directions to police to present his friend Vandana who was allegedly confined in her house by her parents for the last 15 days and faced a threat to her life.

The bench allowed the couple to live together after Vipin Kumar’s married sister wished to take care of Vandana till the two got married.

“Vandana is set at liberty to go as per her wish. Barkha Upadhyay, married sister of Vipin Kumar, is ready to take Vandana with her and to take care for her till she gets married with Vipin Kumar. Vandana is also desirous to go with Barkha Upadhyay,” said the court.

The police were also directed to provide protection to the couple. Station House Officer of Khyala was told “to examine the threat perception to Vandana and Vipin Kumar and his family members and provide security, if required”.

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Rajasthan woman approaches court to annul child marriage

A 24-year-old woman Tuesday approached the Rajasthan High Court’s Jodhpur bench requesting it to annul her marriage that was solemnised when she was nine years old.

After admitting her petition, the court issued notice to the state government directing it to provide security to the girl from the members of a community council who, she claimed, were threatening her and her family.

The girl, Shobha Choudhary, is a resident of Keru area in Jodhpur, some 350 km from Jaipur.

“I was married when I was nine years old. I stayed at my parents’ house until recently. But after a local custom called ‘gauna’, I was forced by our village community members to live with my in-laws,” Shobha told media persons.

“I found out soon that my husband is semi-illiterate while I am a graduate. I aspire to clear some competitive exams. So I could not accept such a marriage in any way,” she added.

When the caste council of her village came to know about her decision not to stay with her in-laws, she started getting threats, Shobha said.

“The caste council members threatened to expel me and my family members from the society which meant that we would not be able to mingle with other villagers,” she added.

Shobha said that she approached the Rajasthan High Court due to these threats.

“The court has issued notice asking the state government’s home secretary and Jodhpur police commissioner to provide me security,” said Shobha adding that she also wants to annual her marriage officially.

“Child marriage is illegal and being an educated girl, I am not going to accept it,” she asserted.

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Marriage after conversion invalid: Kerala high court

The Kerala high court on Dec 11, 2012 ruled that marriage preceded by conversion – as a means to facilitate the marriage – will be deemed invalid before the law. It also controversially ordered the woman to stay with her parents until their marriage was solemnized in accordance with the Special Marriage Act, considering she is not a minor. The court gave the order after hearing the case of a Muslim man and a Hindu woman whose marriage was solemnized with the backing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) after the man ‘converted’ to Hinduism. The man had produced a conversion certificate issued by the VHP and the marriage certificate was issued by a well-known temple in Kaloor.

Refusing to recognize religious conversion as the basis for marriage, a division bench comprising justices Pius C Kuriakose and Babu Mathew P Joseph asked the couple to register their marriage according to the Special Marriage Act. This was after Shaiju M (24) of Vilakkupara, near Anchal in Kollam district, filed a petition alleging that his wife, Ashwathy Raveendran (22) of Vayala in Anchal, was being detained by her father and uncle.

Following the court’s direction, Ashwathy was presented before the court by her parents. She told the court that her marriage with Shaiju took place on November 14 this year at Pavakkulam Sree Mahadeva Temple at Kaloor. Prior to this, Shaiju was converted to Hinduism by the VHP, she told the court.

Ashwathy’s father K Raveendran objected to the groom’s overnight conversion from Islam to Hinduism. He also told the court that there was considerable social and financial disparity between the two families.

“Having considered what we are told by the parties present before us, we feel that it is not safe to rely on the conversion of the petitioner from Islam to Hinduism stated to have been under the auspices (sic) of VHP,” the bench said.

Shaiju said he will now pursue the course offered by the court, to marry under the Special Marriage Act, to restore his rights.

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6th National Conference on Implementation of Protection of Women of from Domestic Violence Act (Pwdva), 2005

The National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW) in collaboration with the Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative (LCWRI), supported by UN Women is holding the Sixth National Conference on implementation of PWDVA, 2005 on 21st January 2013. Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister for Women and Child Development will inaugurate the conference. The Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Shri Altamas Kabir will also be present at the conference.

The Sixth Monitoring and Evaluation Report titled Staying Alive: Evaluating Court Orders will be released at the National Conference along with the release of the  ‘Best Practices Manual on the implementation of PWDV Act 2005’ and a ‘Resource Tool for Monitoring & Evaluation of PWDV Act 2005’. The Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt. Krishna Tirath, will release the Best Practices Manual PWDV Act 2005 & Resource Tool Monitoring and Evaluation PWDV Act 2005. The Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Shri Altamas Kabir will release the 6th Monitoring & Evaluation Report titled ‘Staying Alive: Evaluating Court Order’.

The Best Practices Manual sets out to acknowledge the exemplary efforts of some States in implementation of PWDV Act. The Resource Tool builds a normative framework which can be used by state and central nodal agencies to comply with obligations under the PWDVA. The Monitoring & Evaluation Report documents implementation of the Act and evaluates its functioning by analyzing the judgments and orders passed. It also presents the attitudes, knowledge and practice of stakeholders under the Act.

This meeting will be attended by representatives from the State governments, representatives from Ministries, protection officers, representatives from civil society organizations/ women’s groups, UN officials and representatives from the press.

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Incentives for Inter-Caste Marriage

Central assistance is provided to the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations, under this Ministry`s Centrally Sponsored Scheme of implementation of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The Central assistance, inter-alia, includes, a component of incentive for inter-caste marriages, in which one spouse belongs to a Scheduled Caste. The amount of Central assistance released to States/Union Territories, under the aforesaid Scheme, which, inter-alia  includes provision for incentive for inter-caste marriages, during 2009-10, 2010-2011, 2011-12 and 2012-13 (upto 12.12.2012), is mentioned, asr:-

 

Year Central assistance released  (Rs. in crore)
2009-10 68.6
2010-11 69.8
2011-12 72.0
2012-13 55.35 (as on 12.12.2012

 

The incentive amount is decided by the concerned State Government/Union Territory Administration, and is generally between Rs. 10,000/- to Rs. 100,000/-.

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Rajasthan woman approaches court to annul child marriage

JODHPUR: A 24-year-old woman Tuesday approached the Rajasthan High Court’s Jodhpur bench requesting it to annul her marriage that was solemnised when she was nine years old.

After admitting her petition, the court issued notice to the state government directing it to provide security to the girl from the members of a community council who, she claimed, were threatening her and her family.

The girl, Shobha Choudhary, is a resident of Keru area in Jodhpur, some 350 km from Jaipur.

“I was married when I was nine years old. I stayed at my parents’ house until recently. But after a local custom called ‘gauna’, I was forced by our village community members to live with my in-laws,” Shobha told media persons.

“I found out soon that my husband is semi-illiterate while I am a graduate. I aspire to clear some competitive exams. So I could not accept such a marriage in any way,” she added.

When the caste council of her village came to know about her decision not to stay with her in-laws, she started getting threats, Shobha said.

“The caste council members threatened to expel me and my family members from the society which meant that we would not be able to mingle with other villagers,” she added.

Shobha said that she approached the Rajasthan High Court due to these threats.

“The court has issued notice asking the state government’s home secretary and Jodhpur police commissioner to provide me security,” said Shobha adding that she also wants to annual her marriage officially.

“Child marriage is illegal and being an educated girl, I am not going to accept it,” she asserted.

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MANSEHRA, June 18: A victim of vani, a local tradition meant to settle blood feud, on Monday moved a local court for invalidating her ‘forced’ marriage.

MANSEHRA, June 18: A victim of vani, a local tradition meant to settle blood feud, on Monday moved a local court for invalidating her ‘forced’ marriage.

“I was three-day-old only when a jirga was held to settle an honour-related dispute. The jirga declared me vani and solemnised my nikkah with a boy. Now, I am mature and don’t want to go with him and therefore, the court should nullify my nikkah,” Ayesha, 18, told a news conference here on Monday.

The girl had submitted a written complaint to the Public and Police Safety Commission, which filed the case with the court of the district and sessions judge, Mansehra, Rafiq Hussain.

Ms Ayesha, who was accompanied by her father, Jan Mohammad, said in 1994, she was of three days old when Aasia and Said Khan of her village, Jabory, got married on their own free will but against the consent of their parents, and fled the village.

She said instead of Said Khan, the family of Aasia lodged a case with police of kidnapping against members of her family, including her father.

Ms Ayesha said a jirga, which was summoned to settle the dispute, declared her vani and instantly solemnised her nikkah with a minor boy, Zaibal Hussain, when she was three days old only.

She said her ‘in-laws’ had threatened her family of dire consequences if she didn’t go with her ‘husband’.

“My in-laws also attempted two times to kidnap me outside a seminary but people rescued me. Now, they are threatening to kill my father,” she said.

Ms Ayesha said a jirga was recently held to convince her in-laws to divorce her but they refused to do so until they’re paid Rs300,000 compensation.

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Sikhs now can register marriages under Anand Marriage Act

Meeting a long-standing demand of the Sikh community, the Parliament on Sunday passed a law allowing them to register their marriages under the Anand Marriage Act instead of the Hindu Marriage Act.

The Sikhs will be able to register their marriages under the Anand Marriage Act, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said replying to the debate on the amendment Bill, which was later approved by voice vote. The Bill was earlier passed by Rajya Sabha.

Although the Anand Marriage Act was enacted in 1909, there was no provision for registration of marriages, which were registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

Admitting that it had taken a lot of time to pursue amendments in the Anand Marriage Act, Khurshid said, this was a symbolic gesture and “we should respect the sentiments of all communities …whether Bodos or any other group”.

Sikh groups have maintained that the members of the community face problems abroad as their certificates are issued under the Hindu Marriage Act. Besides Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists are also issued certificates under Hindu laws. Sikh marriage ceremonies are known as ‘Anand Karaj’ (blissful event).

According to the amendment Bill, couples whose marriages have been registered under this Act, will not be required to get their marriage registered under the Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths Act-1969 or any other law for the time being in force.

Supporting the Bill, SAD MP Harsimrat Kaur said Sikhs face problems abroad because while they identify themselves as Sikhs, their marriages are registered under the Hindu Marriage Act. She thanked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for approving the amendments in a recent Cabinet meeting.

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Pranav Kumar Mishra & Anr vs Govt. Of Nct. Of Delhi & Anr on 8 April, 2009

Pranav Kumar Mishra & Anr vs Govt. Of Nct. Of Delhi & Anr on 8 April, 2009

IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

Date of Judgment : 08.04.2009

WP(C) No.748/2009

PRANAV KUMAR MISHRA & ANR. …… Petitioners

Through : Mr. C.S. Parashar with Ms. Jyotishna Jenu and Mr. Sachin Sharma Advocates

Versus

GOVT. OF NCT. OF DELHI & ANR. ……. Respondents Through : Mr. Rohit Madan, Advocate

CORAM

HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE S.RAVINDRA BHAT

1. Whether the Reporters of local papers Yes may be allowed to see the judgment?

2. To be referred to Reporter or not? Yes

3. Whether the judgment should be Yes reported in the Digest?

S.RAVINDRA BHAT, J. (OPEN COURT)

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1. The petitioners, by way of this writ petition, challenge the alleged practice

of posting the notice of intended marriage under the Special Marriages Act, 1954

(hereafter the Act) at the residential addresses of both parties to the marriage as

also through the Station House officer (S.H.O.) of the police station of concerned

jurisdiction for the purpose of verification of address.

2. As per the petition the first and the second petitioner are citizens of India

and permanent residents of Delhi both being of marriageable age as required

WP(C) No. 748/2009 Page 1 under the provisions of the Act. They intend to be married under the provisions of

the said Act. For this purpose they approached office of the Registrar of

Marriages at Deputy Commissioner North, 5 Shamnath Marg, Delhi and obtained

the necessary forms. They state that on further inquiry they were informed of the

procedure whereby a copy of the “Notice of Intended Marriage” (as required

under section 5 of the Act) would be displayed on the Notice Board of the

Registrar‟s office for information to the public at large and for inviting objections.

They were also told that another copy of the “Notice of Intended Marriage” would

be sent at the respective addresses of the parties and a notice may also be sent

through the S.H.O. of the police station of the concerned jurisdiction for the

purpose of verification of the residential address.

3. It is further stated that foe the purpose of confirming the above stated

procedure the petitioners made an application under the Right to Information Act

but they did not receive a satisfactory response. The petitioners challenge the

procedure adopted as being arbitrary and illegal and state the same is not line with

the provisions of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 to the extent it provides for

posting of the notice at the addresses of the parties and verification of the address

by the S.H.O. They do not wish the said notice to be sent to their residences.

4. The relevant provisions of the Act with respect to solemnization of special

marriages and requirement of notice are as under:

“4. Conditions relating to solemnization of special marriages. – Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force relating to the solemnization of marriages, a marriage between any two persons may be solemnized under this Act, if at the time of the marriage the following conditions are fulfilled, namely:

WP(C) No. 748/2009 Page 2 (a) neither party has a spouse living;

(b) neither party is an idiot or a lunatic;

(c) the male has completed the age of twenty-one years and the female the age of eighteen years;

(d) the parties are not with the degree of prohibited relationship; and

(e) where the marriage is solemnized outside the territories to which this Act extends, both parties are citizens of India domiciled in the said territories.

5. Notice of intended marriage. – When a marriage is intended to be solemnized under this Act, the parties to the marriage shall give notice thereof in writing in the form specified in the Second Schedule to the Marriage Officer of the district in which at least on of the parties to the marriage has resided for a period of not less than thirty days immediately preceding the date on which such notice is given.

6. Marriage Notice Book and publication. – (1)The marriage Officer shall keep all notices given under Section 5 with the records of his office and shall also forthwith enter a true copy of every such notice in a book prescribed for that purpose, to be called the Marriage Notice Book, and such book shall be open for inspection at al reasonable times, without fee, by any person desirous of inspecting the same.

(2)The Marriage Officer shall cause every such notice to be published by affixing a copy thereof to some conspicuous place in his office.

(3)Where either of the parties to an intended marriage is not permanently residing within the local limits of the district of the Marriage Officer to whom the notice has been given under section 5, transmitted to the Marriage Officer of the district within whose limits such party is permanently residing, and that Marriage Officer shall thereupon cause a copy thereof to be affixed to some conspicuous place in his office.”

5. The criteria as stated on the website of Delhi Government

(www.delhigovt.nic.in) under the FAQ section regarding the „registration of

marriages which have already been solemnized’ is as under:

“Q. What will be the criteria used while deciding my case?

WP(C) No. 748/2009 Page 3 A) Hindu Marriage Act

Verification of all the documents is carried out on the date of application and a day is fixed and communicated to the parties for registration. On the said day, both parties, alongwith a Gazetted Officer who attended their marriage, need to be present before the SDM. The Certificate is issued on the same day.

B) Special Marriage Act

Both parties are required to be present after submission of documents for issuance of public notice inviting objections. One copy of notice is pasted on the notice board of the office and copy of the notice is sent by registered post to both parties as per address given by them. Registration is done 30 days after the date of notice after deciding any objection that may have been received during that period by the SDM. Both parties alongwith three witnesses are required to be present on the date of registration.”

6. The criterion for ‘solemnization of marriage under Special marriage Act’

revealed is follows:

“Q. What will be the criteria used while deciding my case?

For solemnization of marriage, presence of both parties is required after submission of documents of issuance of notice of intended marriage. A copy of the notice is pasted on the office notice board by the SDM. Any person may within 30 days of issue of notice, file objection to the intended marriages. In such a case, the SDM shall not solemnise the marriage until he has decided the objection, within 30 days of its receipt. If the SDM refuses to solemnise the marriage, any of the parties may file an appeal within 30 days to the District Court. In case no objection is received, the SDM solemnises the marriage after 30 days of the notice. Both parties alongwith 3 witnesses are required to be present on the date of solemnisation of marriage. It is advisable to submit names of witnesses atleast one day in advance.

7. The petitioners contend that the authorities are following the criterion

prescribed for the purpose of „registration of marriages which have already been

solemnized‟ rather than the one enacted for „solemnization of marriage under

Special Marriage Act‟, which clearly does not provide for sending notices to the

WP(C) No. 748/2009 Page 4 respective residential addresses of the parties to the intended marriage. It merely

requires pasting of the notice at the office notice board by the S.D.M.

8. It becomes clear on a textual reading of the relevant provisions of the Act

and the information procured from the website of the Govt. of Delhi that no

requirement of posting of notice to applicants‟ addresses or service through the

SHO, or visit by him is prescribed in either the Act or the website. The

Petitioner‟s concerns and apprehensions are justified. Absent any legal

compulsion – as is the position -for sending notices to residential addresses in

case of solemnization of the marriage, in terms of Sections 4 and 5, their dispatch

can well amount to breach of the right to privacy, which every individual is

entitled to (Ref Govind Vs. State of MP, (1975) 2 SCC 148, R. Rajgopal Vs. State

of T.N. (1994) 6 SCC 632, District Registrar and Collector Vs. Canara Bank

(2005) 1 SCC 496.

9. It is to be kept in mind the that the Special Marriage Act was enacted to

enable a special form of marriage for any Indian national, professing different

faiths, or desiring a civil form of marriage. The unwarranted disclosure of

matrimonial plans by two adults entitled to solemnize it may, in certain

situations, jeopardize the marriage itself. In certain instances, it may even

endanger the life or limb of one at the other party due to parental interference.

10. In such circumstances if such a procedure is being adopted by the

authorities, it is completely whimsical and without authority of law. The Writ

Petition, therefore, deserves to succeed; the respondents are hereby directed to

consider and process the petitioners‟ request for solemnization of marriage under

WP(C) No. 748/2009 Page 5 the Special Marriage Act, 1954, without sending any notices to their residences. It

is, however, open to the concerned Marriage Officer to display the notice on the

office notice board in accordance with law. All Marriage Officers are hereby

directed to follow the above procedures and not despatch notices to the residence

of the applicants, who seeks solemnization of their marriage under Chapter II of

the Act.

The writ Petition is allowed in the above terms.

Order Dasti.

8th April, 2009 (S.RAVINDRA BHAT) JUDGE

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