The Hindu Marriage Registration Act, a protective shield for women

2009

DHAKA, Jan 31, 2020 (BSS) – The Hindu Marriage Registration Act finally paved way for registration of marriages solemnised under Hindu law as it was not possible in the country until the passing of the act in 2012.

Now Hindu women are getting legal protection while travelling abroad, making journeys, asset transfer, preparing deed of gift, presenting evidence in court and even giving divorce. The law is also playing a major role in stopping child marriage.

After passing the law in 2012, the government published the gazette notification in this regard on September 24, 2012. Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry appointed a Hindu Marriage Registrar in almost all the upazillas across the country.

Under this act, rules were formulated in January 2013, namely the Hindu Marriage Registration Rules, 2013. Amended in September 2013, section 3 of the Act provides that such registration is discretionary, and the marriage will be considered as valid even if the same is not registered.

But due to the laxity in registering the marriage and lack of campaign, still many marriages are going unregistered. On an average, around four thousand marriages are getting registered each year, providing around Taka 50 lakh as revenue to state exchequer.

According to the sources, the registration fee against a marriage is Taka one thousand, of which, 60 percent goes to state exchequer and the rest of the money goes to concerned registrar’s pocket.

Earlier, there were no marriage certificates for Hindu marriages, making it very difficult to prove the relationship under legal perspective.

Biplob Kumar Sarker, pseudonym, who lives abroad for long, said he had to go through a long and hectic legal process to collect visa for his wife to take her to his workplace.

“I had to collect a certificate from the priest and went for notary public office with people those witnessed our marriage. After getting the notary public certificate, I had to submit that before the embassy for the visa,” Sarker said.

Jayant Mony, not the real name, loves to travel, but had to see many raised eyebrows when he and his wife used to go to reside in hotel as they had no documents to prove their marriage.

Sanchita Dev was designated as nominee by her husband for his Deposit Pension Scheme (DPS) account. But after his sudden death, bank authorities refused to hand Sanchita the money as she was unable to prove their marriage.

Bangladesh Central Hindu Marriage Registrar Welfare Society vice-president Subir Bardhan Moon said the act has given Hindu women a sense of protection from many aspects.

“From September, 2014 to 2015, I registered only four marriages. But in 2018, I registered a total of 36 marriages. Members of Hindu community are now getting more and more interested in registering the marriages due to many facilities. With administrative activities and awareness raising campaign by people’s representatives, the number will further increase for sure,” Moon, who is in-charge of registering Hindu marriages in Natore and Naldanga, said.

The marriage registrar, however, pleaded to amend the act to include the matter of divorce in the law to prevent occurrence of illegal separation.

“This will give further protection to Hindu women and will also generate more revenue for the government,” he added.

Bangladesh Central Hindu Marriage Registrar Welfare Society general secretary Pradip Kumar Dhar too emphasized on ensuring cent percent marriage registration, saying it would also prevent child marriage.

Natore Brindaban Bihari Jeo Akhra Temple priest Kallol Moitra said the registration protects the interest of the bride and it would become priceless if she wants to take divorce in future or getting her dues in case of divorce is given to her.

Natore district senior lawyer Advocate Shushant Ghosh said though interests of both bride and groom have been ensured in the act, the bride is getting more benefits out of the Hindu Marriage Registration Act as they had none in this case in the past.

“We want that the act needs to be amended and the matter of marriage registration is made compulsory,” he added.

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