SHILLONG, MAR 16: The state government is proposing to bring necessary amendment to the Meghalaya Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act, 2012 and Rules, 2015 within the current budget session.
“We are contemplating of bringing certain amendment to the Act. The Chief Minister will hold a cabinet meeting to ensure that the same can be brought within this budget session,” Minister in-charge MM Danggo told Assembly here.
Replying to a resolution moved by opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) demanding for amendment of the Act, Danggo informed that the decision was taken after certain church leaders had raised objection to certain clauses.
However, according to him, the Act has been enacted with the aim to address the menace of broken families in the state.
Earlier before withdrawing the resolution, UDP legislator from Nongthymmai Jemino Mawthoh highlighted the problems of the marriage parties and church leaders due to the implementation of the Act.
According to him, now it looks as if the process of marriage is being done twice especially in the case of those which are solemnized in the church.
Stating there is no disagreement on the importance of compulsory registration of marriage but the rules has to be simplified; Mawthoh said the government should not make registration of marriage a burdensome procedure.
He further suggested the need to make registration of marriage at the time of solemnization and making well defined rules for proper registration of marriages, filing of returns by marriage officers, filing and maintaining of records and others.
Stating at present there is no clarity in the Act; he also alleged that there seems to be conflict of powers between the parliament, state legislature and district councils.
He was also of the view that proper and people friendly rules and procedures should be laid down for each religious group as per their respective Act keeping in mind that marriage falls under personal law and considering the diversity within the state.
On the larger issue, the UDP legislator said while critically analyzing the whole intent of the Act, it was found that the Act 2012 vis-à-vis its rules has failed to address the real concerns that the Act should have aimed at which is gender equality, social and economic hardships faced especially by single parents, violence and sexual oppression.
In support, HSPDP chief Ardent M Basaiawmoit said that a state law is necessary but the state government has to come up with another rule in as far as those marriages which are solemnized in church.
He also suggested on the need to invite the church leaders for soliciting their views and suggestions on the matter.
It may also be mentioned here a writ petition was also filed by church leaders before the Meghalaya High Court challenging the validity of the Act passed by the state government.