Getting married? You must get it registered

Lok Ayukta pulls up AP, TS for not getting marriages registered

Hyderabad: Compulsory registration of marriages, which helps in preventing polygamy, child marriages and desertion of women and also helps women fight for their legal rights, is not being followed in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Recently the Lokayukta had ordered the principal secretaries of Women and Child Welfare Departments of both states to provide information on registration of marriages, and several municipalities showed nil marriage registrations while most others showed very few registrations.

Marriage certificates are not needed for Aadhaar and a notarised affidavit will do for passport applications. They are also not required for any government sops and thus registrations are very few.

Meanwhile women become victims of polygamous relationships and property disputes as they often have no proof of marriage. Particularly in bigamy cases women fail to prove the first or second marriage of their husbands.

After going through the reports submitted by the district collectors, commissioners of municipalities and district panchayat officers, the Lokayukta for AP and Telangana observed: “Even after 13 years of enactment of the Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act 2002, the impact of the same has not been understood by the marriage officers be it at gram panchayat level, mandal level, district level or even state level. It is still being understood that registration of marriages means registration either under Hindu Marriage Act or Special Marriage Act. The 2002 Act had made it very clear that regardless of the registration of the marriages under the respective religions within the state, marriages have to be registered compulsorily under the Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act. .”

The Lokayukta has asked the principal secretaries of Women and Child Welfare departments of both the states to appear before it on November 4.

It was responding to a complaint filed by one Mr V. Satyanarayana of Krishna district regarding non-compliance of the Act. Ms Naazneen Banu, joint director of AP Women and Child Welfare department, in a circular to all collectors and directors of municipal administrations stated: “It is requested all municipal corporations, municipalities and nagar panchayats shall submit the details of registrations immediately.”

In 2006, the government had issued orders regarding appointing marriage officers for each local area. The officers were directed to submit monthly returns on or before the 30th of every month. Orders were also issued in 2013 to issue instructions to all urban local bodies for strict implementation of the compulsory registration and to pursue the matter with marriage halls, temples and function halls by appointing officers.

A joint director rank official of the Women and Child Welfare department said, “Marriage officers are not submitting monthly reports. This shows that they are not complying with the rules. Christian marriages are registered in churches with pastors and parish priests and Muslim marriages are registered with kazis. But Hindu marriages are not registered properly. However the Act says all marriages have to be registered. Child marriages are occurring due to this. These days couples who want to go abroad and NRI marriages are registered as they need the certificate.”

The official added, "We have seen several cases wherein women, particularly those who were married a few years ago, faced difficulties to fight for maintenance due to lack of sufficient proof as the husband had deleted all photographs and other evidence. Government should make marriage certificates mandatory for passport and Aadhar cards."

Marriage cell has too many hubbies

Too many departments handling registration of marriages is cited as one of the key reasons for lack of accountability.

SHRC orders issued in 2006 are not being implemented by the state government for appointing separate registrars at state and district levels.

Mr S. Suresh Reddy, a child rights activist, said, “It has been observed that too many departments handling the subject, including the Revenue department, is leading to confusion and non-compliance. The State Human Rights Commission was alarmed by the menace of child marriages during Sivaratri in Chittoor district. SHRC had then recommended appointing a registrar-general of marriages at the state level, district registrar of marriages and subordinate marriage authorities in the local bodies. It had also suggested that officers handling registration of births and deaths could be delegated the powers. But the state failed to comply with these orders.”

Deputy secretary of Women and Child Welfare Department of Telangana, Ms M. Prasanthi said, “The government had issued orders regarding compulsory registration in combined AP while Telangana has adopted it. In villages, the panchayat officers are designated to register under the Act. Compulsory registration helps in prevention of infringement of rights of women and in preventing child marriages. A marriage is not recognised unless it is registered. We have designated the Panchayat Raj and Municipal Administration department to register.”

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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