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Marriage registrations made compulsory

In a significant move, government will bring in a bill in Parliament's Budget Session for registration of marriages under a law for recording of births and deaths, notwithstanding one's religious affiliation, thereby providing legal protection especially in cases of inter-religious matrimony. The Union Cabinet on Thursday also approved introduction of the Anand Marriage Act, 1909 to provide for registration of marriages of Sikhs, fulfilling a long standing demand of the community. While marriages of Sikhs along with those of Buddhists and Jains are currently registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, Muslims, Parsis, Christians and Jews have separate Acts for registration of their marriages. Ministry officials contended that making registration of marriages religion neutral would also help those facing social and community pressures for having married according to their wishes. While those who desire to register their marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act face no rejection, those marrying outside their religions have the benefit of registering under the Special Marriage Act. The move is likely to benefit Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists who are issued marriage certificates under the Hindu law. Speaking to reporters later, Union Minister Kapil Sibal said, “It is not compulsory for the Sikh community to register their marriage under Anand Karaj Act, who so ever wish can do so.” Last month, the Union Cabinet approved various proposals seeking amendments in the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and Special Marriage Act of 1954.

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