A Sikh couple recently approached the Bombay High Court with a writ petition seeking direction to the Maharashtra Government to frame and notify rules under the Anand Marriage Act, 1909, so that they can register their marriage under it.
The lawyer couple, Amritpal Singh Khalsa and his wife Satvinder Kaur, said the 1909 law gives legality and sanctity to the marriage ceremony among Sikhs known as Anand Karaj, and in 2012, it was amended and stipulated each state to formulate their own rules under the Act.
They submitted that at least 10 states in the country, including Delhi, Punjab, Kerala, Assam, and Rajasthan, have implemented the Act and notified the rules, however, the Maharashtra Government is yet to do so despite nearly 10 years since the amendment was made in the law.
The plea filed by a lawyer couple reads, “The Sikhs in Maharashtra, despite having a separate legislation for registration of their marriages under the Anand Marriage Act, are forced to register marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act.”
Khalsa said he got married in October last year by performing Anand Karaj at a Gurudwara in Aurangabad and desired to get his marriage registered under the Act.
The plea added, “The non-registration of Sikh marriages in the state of Maharashtra under the Anand Marriage Act, 1909, is adversely affecting couples professing the Sikh religion by infringing Article 14 and further infringing their freedom of professing and practising a religion which is protected under Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India.”
The plea further claimed registration of marriage falls within their rights under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution about forming a marital union, expressing their unity, and living with dignity. It also added while Article 29 of the Constitution provides the right to conserve culture, as the rules are notified in the state, the same causes difficulties to the petitioners.
The plea prayed from the court direction to the Maharashtra Government to notify rules under the 1909 Act and to register petitioners’ marriage under the said law. The plea is likely to be mentioned before the Court on Wednesday.