Hindu marriage bill crops up on NA agenda again
ISLAMABAD: The government is expected to table the Hindu Marriage Bill, 2016 at the next session of parliament later this month, it was learnt on Saturday.
On August 17, the National Assembly’s standing committee on law and justice tabled its report on The Hindu Marriage Bill, 2016, which had been pending with the panel since March last year.
The landmark piece of legislation will address key issues of the Hindu community, including matters relating to the registration of marriages, divorce and forced conversions, Human Rights Minister Kamran Michael told The Express Tribune. Michael is likely to table the bill at the next session of parliament.
The draft law was originally moved by two minority lawmakers — Ramesh Lal of the PPP and Asiya Nasir of the JUI-F. The draft bill was later supported by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Kamran Michael said: “It will be a historic day … and the credit goes to (both the) opposition and ruling parties which are on the same page on the draft (bill),” said the lawmaker. The minister said that he had tried to move the bill on September 9, but a few minority lawmakers were not present in the house and the matter was deferred to the next session which will be held in the last week of September.
A large number of Hindu community members, especially women, do not have basic documentation to prove their marital status. They are also deprived of legal rights, such as inheritance, remarriage, separation, adoption of children and annulment of marriage; they also face problems while travelling abroad. The legislation will institutionalise all legal rights relating to marriage.
Following the adoption of the bill, all Hindu marriages shall be registered in accordance with the provisions of this act. Such registration shall take place within 15 days of a marriage.
Similarly, Hindu widows shall now have the right to remarry of their own free will six months after the death of her husband.
PTI minority lawmaker, Lal Chand Malhi, appreciated the bill and said: “I believe the government and the opposition (parties) must focus on such legislation to protect (the rights of all) marginalised communities.”