The Law Commission of India, on Tuesday, submitted its 270th Report titled ‘Compulsory Registration of Marriages’ to the Government for consideration.
The Report begins by acknowledging that despite efforts from all sectors, the society is still plagued with social evils such as child marriages, bigamy and gender violence. “Bearing in mind the diversity of family laws, customs and traditions, the 21st Law Commission has endeavored to create an all-India framework under which all marriages can be registered regardless of the differences in the procedure of solemnization,” an LCI press release goes on to enunciate.
During the UPA Government’s second tenure, the Rajya Sabha had passed an amendment to make registration of marriage compulsory under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969. The Bill, however, could not be passed by the Lok Sabha, and later, lapsed.
Subsequently, in 2014, the idea of compulsory registration of marriage had been supported by Law Minister Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad as well, who had then been quoted as saying, “Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2012 to provide for compulsory registration of marriages irrespective of the religious denomination of the "parties" or couples was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on May 7, 2012. It was passed by the Upper House on August 13, 2013, now steps are being initiated for introduction of the bill afresh.”
It is, therefore, being speculated that the Modi led Government is likely to bring the Bill afresh, more so in the light of LCI’s latest report, which, while referring to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, suggests, “Therefore, it is worth considering the amendment of the aforesaid Act to include Registration of marriage as well within its scope so that existing administrative machinery is able to carry out registration of marriages in accordance with the specified procedures. Further, the States at one office/ place will be able to maintain necessary records and statistics of registration of marriages. This will make the proposal financially viable because it will not be causing any extra financial burden in establishing separate infrastructure to implement the proposal.”
Here is a summary of the recommendations:
“Thus while Bill does not aim at eliminating the diversity of personal laws, or regional differences seeking merely the registration of marriages regardless of the law under which the marriages are recognized or solemnized, it recommends that these various overlapping and contradicting legislations be borne in mind while framing the rules of registration,” it states in this regard.
Read the Report Here