The maximum limit of 50 guests at wedding ceremonies as directed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is “too liberal” and counterproductive to the measure being taken to contain coronavirus spread, a lawyer said in a petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court demanding that it be reduced further.
Disposing the petition filed by Advocate Hari Chand Arora Wednesday, the high court ordered the Centre and the the states of Punjab and Haryana and the Chandigarh Administration to take a decision on the demand for reducing the upper limit for guests allowed in marriage functions.
A division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli, in the order, said, “The petition is disposed of granting liberty to the petitioner to represent the authorities concerned and in the event any such representation, as indicated above, is made, a decision thereon shall be taken in accordance with law.”
Advocate Arora later mailed a representation to the Ministry of Home Affairs, National Disaster Management Authority as well as authorities in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
During the hearing, Arora pleaded that the upper limit of 50 guests is too much on the higher side and it would prove counterproductive to the protective and preventive measures being taken to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Arora also referred to the provisions of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, as amended by both Punjab and Haryana. Both the amendments place an upper limit of 25 persons on the marriage party. In addition, Haryana provides for 11 band members.
Punjab law says the 25-upper-limit will be exclusive of minors and members of the band.
“Thus, not only the government guidelines issued by MHA which have prescribed the upper limit of 50 guests in marriage related gatherings, are too liberal, but the same are violative of the aforesaid provisions of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 as applicable in the states of Punjab and Haryana as well as Union Territory Chandigarh,” Arora submitted.
Additional Solicitor General of India, Satya Pal Jain and the counsel representing Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh told the court that Arora’s representation will be considered while formulating a new policy.
According to the MHA guidelines issued on account of the pandemic, the number of guests must not exceed 50 at marriage-related gatherings.
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