Pakistan's Parliament has finally passed the much-awaited landmark bill to regulate marriages of minority Hindus in the country.
Pakistan’s Parliament has finally passed the much-awaited landmark bill to regulate marriages of minority Hindus in the country. Pakistan’s Hindus were set to get an exclusive personal law to regulate marriages after the National Assembly unanimously adopted the Hindu Marriage Bill, 2017, yesterday. The law was passed after a lengthy process of enactment. It was the second time that the National Assembly passed the bill. It passed the bill in September last year but had to pass it again as its version of bill was changed by the Senate when it adopted the bill in February.
As per rules, the same text should be passed by the two Houses of the Parliament before it is sent to the President for his signatures and promulgation for implementation. Dawn News reported that the Senate included an amendment to the draft approved by the National Assembly in September. The final text approved by both houses includes the Shadi Parath — a document similar to ‘Nikahnama’ in Muslims. The Shadi Parath will be required to be signed by a pundit and will be registered with the relevant government department.
The simple document has eight columns starting with the date of marriage and followed by the name of the union council, tehsil, town and district. The document has columns for the particulars of the bridegroom — his name and father’s name, date of birth, date and place where the marriage is solemnised, temporary address, etc. It also contains the matrimonial status — single, married, divorced, widower and the number of dependents. Similar details are required for the bride, except for one change. Her mother’s must also to be written in the document.
Both the bride and the groom have to sign the document along with one witness and the registrar. The Hindu marriage bill will help Hindu women to get documentary proof of their marriage. The bill was presented in the National Assembly yesterday by ruling PML-N’s Christian lawmaker Kamran Michael, who is also the Minister for Human Rights. He pointed out that there was no law to regulate the registration of Hindu marriages and ancillary matters.
The minister said that the incumbent government was committed to protecting and promoting human rights, including the rights of women and minorities. The Hindu marriage bill provides for mechanism for registration of Hindu marriages which includes conditions for contracting the marriage, procedure for dissolution of the marriage and the grounds on the basis of which such marriage can be dissolved.
It also provides for the concept of judicial separation where marriage remains intact, but parties are no longer under obligation to cohabit with each other. Moreover, the legitimacy of children born out of void and voidable Hindu marriages has also been protected. After becoming a law, it will be applicable in three provinces — Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — as the federal government has obtained resolutions from these provinces. The Sindh province has already formulated its own Hindu Marriage Law.