Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill to make registration of marriages mandatory.
The Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2012, which was passed by voice vote, seeks to provide compulsory registration of marriages irrespective of religion. The registration of marriages will not apply to those who have registered their marriage under any other law.
At present, there is provision for registration of only births and deaths. Law Minister Kapil Sibal while moving the amendment bill for consideration in the Upper House, said the government will file a review petition in the Supreme Court against its earlier order in 2006 where it had sought to scrutinise the law after it was passed by Parliament.
"The Supreme Court had rendered this judgement in 2006 that the law once passed in Parliament must be placed before the court for scrutiny. We are not entirely happy with this direction...We will be filing a review petition. This part of judgement should be expunged," Sibal said.
Noting that there were enormous benefits of registering marriages, Sibal said people should not be penalised for not doing the registration. There is "enough leeway" in the Act and state governments are free to make rules. The bill is not quasi-judicial power for determining whether marriages are valid or invalid, he said in response to the debate on the bill.
The amendment bill will benefit women as the registration The amendment bill will benefit women as the registration certificate would provide evidential value in matrimonial and maintenance cases and prevent unnecessary harassment meted out to them. It will also provide evidential value in matters of age of parties, custody of children and right of children born out of such marriages.