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Activist warns of fast over marriage act

Shillong, Aug. 7: A social activist and his group have threatened to launch an indefinite hunger strike if the Mukul Sangma government does not frame rules for implementation of Meghalaya Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act, 2012.

The Meghalaya Compulsory Registration of Marriage Bill was passed by the Assembly in September 2012 and received the governor’s assent on September 12, 2012.

However, even after nearly two years since the law was enacted, the government is yet to frame the relevant rules for implementation of the path-breaking legislation.

In a letter submitted to chief minister Mukul Sangma today, Maitshaphrang convener Michael N. Syiem set a deadline of two months, beginning today, for the state government to finalise rules for implementation of the act.

“Failing which we will have to resort to an indefinite hunger strike,” Syiem said.

The activist is of the view that rules are required because of concern over increasing number of broken families in the state.

The act mandates that married men and married women would have to compulsorily furnish marriage certificates for all official purposes.

Syiem reminded that in August 2013, he had written to Sangma requesting him to frame rules for the act.

Later, a meeting with then chief secretary W.M.S. Pariat was also held to push for speedy execution of the rules.

“However, no progress has been made,” Syiem said.

“The government must prioritise the issue as the law will help strengthen the institution of marriage and family in our state. At present, there are many single mothers who are facing difficult times because of broken marriages.”

According to Syiem, a study which was conducted by social scientists in Singapore years ago, had come up with the conclusion that the country’s progress was mainly because of the presence of a strong family system.

“If the family is strong, the children will emerge to be progressive and this helps the country,” he added.

Syiem said a law on equitable distribution of self-acquired property and ancestral wealth should be enacted to economically empower men and women who hitherto are left without any share in the self-acquired property and ancestral wealth.

Syiem said Khasi men lack the sense of belonging to the family as most of them do not have any say in self-acquired property and ancestral wealth.

According to local customs and traditions, Khasi and Garo men do not inherit property and, hence, it is a necessity to have the act in place, he added.

“We will lobby with legislators for the enactment of a law on equitable distribution of self-acquired property and ancestral wealth,” Syiem stated.

According to him, by having two strong laws in place — compulsory registration of marriage and equitable distribution of self-acquired property and ancestral wealth — Meghalaya would see stronger families and economic empowerment.


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