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Marriage registration to be made compulsory

New Delhi(IANS): Registration of marriages is to be made compulsory irrespective of religion – largely to prevent the harassment of women in divorce cases – under two bills approved by the cabinet on Thursday.

The bills, to amend the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, and Anand Marriage Act, 1909, to enable registration of Sikh marriages, will be tabled when parliament’s budget session resumes April 24, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

This will facilitate the registration of marriages “in accordance with the specified procedures” and “maintain the necessary records and statistics”, Sibal added.

The bills “will be beneficial for women from unnecessary harassment in matrimonial and maintenance cases”, an official statement said.

“The bills will also provide evidentiary value in the matters of custody of children, right of children born from the wedlock of the two persons whose marriage is registered and the age of the parties to the marriage,” the statement added.

The bills flow from a 2006 judgement of the Supreme Court, a 2006-07 report of parliament’s Committee on Empowerment of Women and two reports of the 18th Law Commission of India, all of which had stressed the need to make registration of marriages compulsory.

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