The Law Commission’s suggestion of creating a central portal for mandatory registration of marriages can be implemented quickly on the lines of passport seva.
If we can have 115 crore Aadhaar numbers in the country, that are digitally recorded and are available online for verification purposes, why can’t all marriage registrations be linked to Aadhaar? You do that and majority of marriage-related cases/frauds/issues, would be easy to deal with—in fact, it will also act as a big deterrent. The Law Commission has done well by pointing out in its latest report, ‘Compulsory Registration of Marriages’: “While provisions for registration exist under various laws-such as the Hindu Marriages Act, 1955, the Special Marriages Act, 1954, the Parsi Marriages and Divorce Act, 1936 and the Indian Christian Marriages Act, 1872, however, there is no provision that provides for simply keeping a record of all marriages and is available to any and every individual in the country regardless of religion, region or customs.”
The compulsory registration as suggested by the Commission would help curb child marriages, bigamy, gender violence and marriage frauds.
“The object of the proposed amendment of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 would be to create a central civil registration portal that consists of records of birth, marriage and death and to provide convenient access to the documents,” the Commission has said.
Some states are already providing the online marriage registration facility and others can also provide this window, but the need is to have a central platform.
If it can be done for passport service across the country, it can be done for this purpose also.
Linking of Aadhaar numbers with the marriage registration process, as in the case of passport, will revolutionise the whole process as Aadhaar will help in providing women the legal security. More important, on the lines of schemes like Bhamashah in Rajasthan and Samagra in Madhya Pradesh, the government can utilise this data for creating a social safety net for families.
This is why the Commission has stressed, “… if registration of marriage is linked to the unique identification number (UID), it would be possible to achieve universal tracing of records.”
Even though it will be politically difficult to implement this measure considering religious connotations, the government must try and convince the political class of its importance. Linking of Aadhaar with PAN was also not an easy task, but the government has been able to implement it.