SC: Register all marriages

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  • Published 25.10.07

New Delhi, Oct. 25: The Supreme Court today gave states and Union Territories three months to make registration of marriage compulsory for all religions.

The order came after amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar (the officer assisting the court in the matter) pointed out that some states had not bothered to follow its February 2006 order on registration. Others had left out non-Hindus — except Christians and Parsis, who already register marriages.

On July 23 this year, too, the apex court had clarified that the order was meant to cover all religions.

“We are of the view that marriages of all persons who are citizens of India, belonging to various religions, should be made compulsorily registrable in their respective states, where the marriage is solemnised,” a two-judge bench had ruled last year.

Today, the court noted that Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and Tripura had taken steps to make registration mandatory.

Bengal said it had made changes in the WB Special Marriages Rules, 1969, Registration of Muslim Marriages & Divorces Registration Rules and the Hindu Marriage Act to make registration a must and provide penalties for non-compliance.

The court expressed displeasure that some states had not complied. “We, therefore, direct that the states and UTs who have not acted in line with the directions shall forthwith do it and in no case later than three months from today,” the bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and P. Sathasivam said.

The order drew a guarded response from Muslim leaders. All India Muslim Personal Law Board spokesman Qasim Rasool Ilyas said registration should be optional.

Sunni cleric Khalid Rashid also voiced his opposition to the word “compulsory”.

But All India Shia Personal Law Board president Mirza Mohammad Athar said: “The order will strengthen the Islamic practice of registering marriages.”