If a new proposal from the law ministry is approved, registration of marriages in India can be carried on without divulging the religion of the parties concerned.
According to sources, the law ministry is bringing an amendment to reform the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1969.
One of the proposals made to the Union Cabinet is to withdraw the requirement to cite one’s religious affiliation for registration of marriages.
In a bid to make the process of inter-faith marriages easy, the law ministry recommends including a clause on the registration of marriages in the 1969 Act.
Ministry officials said 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.
To facilitate the process, the ministry might include an option for “quick and religion neutral” marriage registrations.
The move is likely to benefit Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists who are issued marriage certificates under the Hindu law.
Last month, the Union Cabinet approved various proposals seeking amendments in the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and Special Marriage Act of 1954
The new bill, apart from giving women the right to their husband’s property, also aims at giving rights to adopted children on par with biological off-springs.
The Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010, was first introduced in the Rajya Sabha two years ago and then referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice and Personnel.
According to the redrafted bill, while a wife can oppose a husband’s plea for a divorce under the new “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” clause, the husband will have no such rights to oppose if the wife moves the court on the same grounds.
Further, adopted children will have rights on par with biological off-springs of a couple in case the parents go for a divorce.
The government has also accepted the recommendation of the parliamentary committee that women should have a share in the property of her husband in case of a divorce. However, the quantum of share will be decided by the courts.