NA passes landmark bill to recognise, register marriages of Hindu families
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Wednesday passed The Hindu Marriage Bill, 2016 to recognise and register the marriages among Hindu families by local governments.
The bill moved by Minister for Human Rights, Kamran Michael, provides for solemnisation of marriages by Hindu families and for matters ancillary and incidental, thereto. The bill has already been passed by the Senate with amendments.
The bill will enable the Hindu family to get their marriages registered and appeal in courts of law in cases of separation. The bill also allows separated Hindu persons to remarry. There are also penalties in the bill for violating the provisions of the bill that allows Hindus to finally have a proof of marriage document.
The bill paves the way for the adoption of a comprehensive and widely- acceptable family law for Hindus living in Pakistan. Around 1.6 per cent Hindus are living in Pakistan, especially in Sindh province. The marriages of Hindu families have never been recognised and registered by local governments, the reason being that the law did not exist in the country for registration of the marriages of Hindus. Although blaming authorities is the easiest thing to do, yet it is a fact that Hindu leaders did not ever campaign to get a proper marriage law passed from the legislative assemblies of the country.
A proper marriage certificate is also introduced through the bill for Hindu families.
According to the bill, both the parties are not below the age of 18 years. The parties to the marriage are not within the degrees of prohibited relationship and neither party has a spouse living at the time of marriage. The marriages will be registered by local government (union council, tehsil, town, district) and marriage certificates will be issued.
Women may challenge their marriages in the court if they are deprived of their matrimonial rituals and rights. The court shall not pass a degree of termination unless the court is satisfied that adequate provisions for the maintenance of children born out of the marriage has been made in commensuration with the financial capacity of the parties to the marriage. In the presence of first wife, second marriage will not be allowed.
Violation of the Hindu Marriage Act will result in prosecution. If individuals are interested to remarry, they can do after the period of six months of their divorce.
A Hindu widow shall have the right to remarry of her own will and consent after death of her husband provided a period of six months has lapsed after the husbands death. According to objects of the bill, the provision of the said bill has also been applied to irretrievable breakdown of marriages in Hindus. This law will be applicable to all citizens of Pakistan who are Hindu by religion in any of its form.