Registration of marriages must

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered compulsory registration of marriages irrespective of religion. It directed the Centre and all the States and Union Territories

Registration of marriages must: Court

Centre, States and all Union Territories directed to amend the rules within three months

  • Incorporate provisions for consequences of non-registration: Court
  •  "Law on registration of marriages would help to prevent child marriages"

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered compulsory registration of marriages irrespective of religion. It directed the Centre and all the States and Union Territories to amend the rules to this effect within three months.

A Bench consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat and S. H. Kapadia issued the direction on a petition filed by Seema, a divorcee, seeking directions for making the registration compulsory. It asked the Union Government to give publicity to this order and said the public could give their objections within a month.

The new rules should be notified after taking into consideration their objections. The Centre and the States should incorporate appropriate provisions for the consequences of non-registrations and false declaration during the registration of marriage.

The Bench said one way of curbing the practice was to make it mandatory for all to register their marriage under which one was obliged to give one's age at the time of the wedding. The rules should specifically contain a provision for appointment of an officer for this purpose.

The judges agreed with the views of the National Commission for Women that compulsory registration would be of critical importance to prevention of child marriages and marriages without the consent of parties; checking illegal bigamy/polygamy; ensuring the minimum age of marriage; and enabling married women to claim their right to live in the matrimonial houses.

The Bench said a Central law would enable women to claim their inheritance rights and other benefits and privileges which they were entitled to after the death of their husbands; deter men from deserting women after marriage, and parents and guardians from selling daughters/young girls to any person including a foreigner under the garb of marriage.

 

The Bench said it was in agreement with the suggestion that maintenance of official records on registration of marriages would facilitate disposal of litigation between or relating to parties to a marriage.

 

While Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh enacted a law, other States remain without any legislation for registration of marriages.