Fulfilling a long-standing demand of the Sikhs,the Rajya Sabha today unanimously passed the Anand Marriage Bill providing for a separate Act for registration of Sikh marriages.
The House passed the Anand Marriage (Amendment) Bill,2012 by voice vote in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
After approval of the Upper House,the Bill will now go to the Lok Sabha for passage.
Speaking on the occasion,Law minister Salman Khurshid said the government is committed to addressing the issues of all communities.
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.
Necessary provisions have also been made to avoid duplication of registration of marriages both under the proposed central legislation and state laws. The registration of marriages under the proposed amendment would,however,not affect any right recognised or acquired by any party to marriage under any law,custom or usage.
The Bill will save women from unnecessary harassment in matrimonial and maintenance cases. It will also provide evidentiary value in the matters of custody of children,right of children born from the wedlock and the age of the persons married.
In February 2006,the Supreme Court had directed the states and the central government that registration of marriages of all persons who are citizens of India and belonging to various religious denominations should be made compulsory in their respective states where they are solemnised.
Earlier,members from all parties supported the Bill. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Balwinder Singh Bhunder (both SAD),Avinash Rai Khanna (BJP),Naresh Agrawal (SP) and M S Gill (Cong) made a strong case for approval of the Bill saying it has been a long pending demand of the Sikhs.