Thursday, June 10, 2010

Divorce gets easier for Hindus, Sikhs demand the same

New Delhi: With amendments on the anvil to make divorce easier for Hindus, a similar move may be underway for Sikhs.

The Cabinet on Thursday cleared amendments to the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act, allowing the provision of “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” to be included as ground for divorce.
Sources said a similar provision could be added to the draft Sikh Marriage Act that is currently under consideration with the law ministry. At present, Sikhs are governed by the Anand Marriage Act of 1909 which the draft bill seeks to replace. The demand for a separate marriage Act stems from the need to register marriages solemnised under their religious ceremony Anand Karaj.
It is learnt that sports minister M S Gill intervened in the discussion on Hindu Marraige Act to say that similar provision for “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” should be made for Sikhs, adding that Anand Marriage Act was 50 years older. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it would require a separate proposal.
Gill said the community had pursued former law minister H R Bharadwaj with the demand but to no result. Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee Paramjit Singh Sarna said the committee was in favour of a separate law to govern Sikh marriages. “We have separate set of Sikh rituals and we would like to be registered under the Sikh Marriage Act rather than the Hindu Marriage Act as we have to do now. It is a matter of our identity and a legal recognition to Anand Karaj,” Sarna said. He added there was no objection to adding a new provision to ease divorce proceedings. “We are willing to adopt all the provisions under Hindu Marriage Act as long as the Sikh rituals are given legal sanctity,’’ he said. Sikhs have been demanding a separate Act for registration of marriages solemnised under Sikh traditions. At present, Sikh marriages are registered either under the Hindu Marriage Act or the Special Marriage Act.

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