March 15, 2018 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Lahore, Pakistan: While the demand of Sikh personal law remains not fulfilled by the Indian state, the Sikhs in western parts of Punjab (in Pakistan) got personal law in form of The Punjab Sikhs Anand Karaj Marriages Act 2018.
Unlike the Anand Marriage Act that was amended by the Indian Parliament in 2012, “The Punjab Sikhs Anand Karaj Marriages Act 2018” enacted by the state assembly of West Punjab in Pakistan is a complete act dealing with all aspects related to marriage amongst the Sikhs.
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The law was passed unanimously by the Punjab assembly in Pakistan on March 14, 2018.
The bill was tabled by provincial minister Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora in 2017 and was signed by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif last week. The passing of the bill has effectively repealed the Anand Marriage Act, 1909 that was passed under British rule.
The bill will come into force immediately after it has been approved by the governor.
PML-N MPA Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora said it is unfortunate that Sikhs had not been given a separate identity in terms of their family laws, even in India. He said it was the first time the family laws of Sikhs would be regulated separately in Pakistan and gave credit to the Punjab government. He said it was necessary to define the law in order to regulate solemnisation and dissolution of Sikh marriages, provision of maintenance and the matters ancillary and incidental thereto.
Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) President Sardar Tara Singh said “there was no law for the Sikh community, but now their family matters will be dealt with through relevant legislation”. He said their community had to face several issues due to the lack of legislation.
Brief Introduction About Main Provisions of The Punjab Sikhs Anand Karaj Marriages Act 2018:
Definition of Sikh and religion
Sikh means prescribed in the law as- Sikh means a person who follows Sikh religion as a monotheistic Sikh religion and believes in the scriptures of Guru Granth Sahib and does not subscribe to any other religion and Sikh religion means the belief in Akalpurakh (One Eternal Being) the ten Gurus from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh and the acceptance of Guru Granth Sahib as the Eternal-Living Guru.
Solemnisation of Marriage
No male or female of the Sikh community who will be below the age of eighteen years, could solemnise marriages under the law.
Saving of Marriages
Nothing in the Act will affect the validity of any marriage duly solemnized according to any other marriage ceremony customary among the Sikhs.
Registration of Marriages
Every marriage between Sikhs shall be registered under the Act. For the purpose of the registration of marriages under the Act, the government, in the prescribed manner, shall grant license to one or more persons professing Sikh religion to be called Anand Karaj Registrar, authorizing him to grant Anand Karaj Certificate.
The bridegroom and the bride or a Granthi shall fill the Anand Karaj form and present it, within thirty days of the marriage, to the Anand Karaj Registrar for registration of the marriage and a copy thereof shall be sent to the chairman. Chairman means the chairman of a union council or municipal committee or any officer authorized by the government to perform the functions of the chairman under the act.
A marriage, which is not solemnized by the Anand Karaj Registrar, shall, for the purpose of registration under the Act, be reported within thirty days of the solemnization of the marriage to him (chairman) by the Granthi or the person who solemnized the marriage.
The violators will be punished and fined which may extend to ten thousand.
Dissolution of Marriage
Any party that wishes to dissolve the marriage shall give to the chairman notice in writing of his or her intention to do so and shall supply a copy thereof to the other party. Within thirty days of the receipt of the notice under subsection (1), the chairman shall constitute an arbitration council in the prescribed manner for the purpose of bringing about reconciliation between them and the council shall take all steps necessary to that effect.
If reconciliation is not effected within 90 days from the date of the notice, the chairman shall, after the lapse of the ninety days, declare the marriage to have been dissolved and issue the certificate of the dissolution of marriage in prescribed manner.
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