Govt going to amend out-dated Hindu Marriages Act

* Wakes up from slumber after 32 yrs on SC prodding
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, June 27: Incredible it may sound but it is a fact that in Jammu and Kashmir there is no conformity with the Central law as far as the age for bridegroom and bride is concerned as no attention was ever paid towards this provision of Jammu and Kashmir Hindu Marriages Act ever since its enactment in 1980. Now, after more than three decades the State Government has woken up from deep slumber and is going to carry out necessary amendment in the Act besides framing its rules that too on the directives of the Apex Court of the country. The draft of rules and amended Act is being placed before the State Cabinet which is meeting at summer capital of the State tomorrow morning.
As per Section 5 of the Jammu and Kashmir Hindu Marriage Act, 1980, the age for bridegroom has been laid as 18 years and for bride as 15 years at the time of marriage and this is not in conformity with the Central laws and Infant Marriage Prevention Act, 1985, which prohibits marriage between a girl who has not completed 18 years of age and boy who has not completed 21 years of age.
This was noticed by the State Government only when it started exercise to frame the rules of the Act that too on the directions of the Apex Court of country to prescribe the procedure for registration of marriages, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
It is pertinent to mention here that Supreme Court of India vide its judgment dated February 14, 2006 directed that marriages of all the persons, who are the citizens of the country, belonging to various religions, should be compulsorily registered in their respective States. Since then the Supreme Court was monitoring the matter and issued latest directions to the States including Jammu and Kashmir to comply with the orders and inform the Court.
Three years after the Supreme Court’s first directives, the State Government framed draft rules of J&K Hindu Marriages Act, 1980 and submitted the same to Cabinet for approval. However, the Cabinet constituted a Sub-Committee to examine various aspects of the draft Jammu and Kashmir Hindu Marriage Registration Rules.
During the course of examining various aspects of the draft and suggestions put forth by various religious organizations, Bar Association and social workers, the Cabinet Sub-Committee noticed that provisions of the Act relating to the age prescribed for marriage was not in conformity with the practice prevalent in other parts of the country and with the corresponding provisions in the Infant Marriages Prevention Act, 1985, sources said.
“Now, the Sub-Committee has recommended amendment in the J&K Hindu Marriages Act of 1980 so as to provide age of bride and bridegroom as 18 and 21 years respectively”, sources said, adding “the Sub-Committee has also prepared draft of the Rules of the Act whereby procedure has been laid down for the registration of marriages as directed by the Supreme Court”.
The draft rules and bill to amend the J&K Hindu Marriages Act, 1980 are being placed before the Cabinet tomorrow for its approval, sources said, adding “had the Supreme Court not issued directions vis-à-vis registration of marriages, the State Government would have not revisited the Act, which otherwise was against the spirit of Central laws and Infant Marriages Prevention Act”.
Sources said that Cabinet will also accord approval to the proposal of the Estates Department for construction of residential flats for Government employees at Pampore.
“The proposal to construct residential flats has been mooted in order to dispense with the practice of hiring hotels for the employees for six months when the Secretariat functions from Srinagar”, sources said.
The Cabinet will also discuss the situation arisen due to the gutting of shrine in Khanyar area of Srinagar.


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