Hindu Marriage Bill: Government’s ‘New Year’s gift’ for Hindu minorities

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Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights has approved the Hindu Marriages Bill today, Monday January 1. This much-awaited bill is being hailed as ‘a New Year’s gift’ for Hindu citizens of Pakistan. After the bill got a green signal from the Senate’s Committee Hindu Pakistanis will now be able to register their marriages, and to appeal in courts of law in cases of separation.

Hindus in Pakistan

Hindus will now be able to have a legal proof of their marriages in the form of legal documents called “shaadiparat” which is similar to Nikah Nama (Marriage certificate for Muslims). Moreover, separated Hindu individuals can remarry after this law has been passed.

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In line with Clause 17 of the Hindu Marriage law, states that a Hindu widow “shall have the right to re-marry of her own will and consent after the death of her husband provided a period of six months had lapsed after the husband’s death.”

The Senate committee headed by Senator Nasreen Jalil who hails from MQM, took up the bill for discussion. Senator Sitara Ayaz, Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari, Mufti Abdul Sattar, Nisar Muhammad, Aitzaz Ahsan, Farhatullah Baber, Dr. Ashok Kumar, Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani and Dr. Darshan were also present at the meeting.

Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said: “There is no contradiction regarding the bill; this is right of minorities to live according to their religion. Shariat law is totally different from Hindu law and Islam gives freedom to non-Muslims.”

Hindu lawmaker Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani has called this move a “New Year’s Gift” for Hindus living in Pakistan. “Today, we are proud to be Hindu Pakistanis after the approval of the bill. Hindus will now be able to get registered their marriages and also apply for divorce under family laws,” he said.

The Hindu Marriage law can be summarized in the following points:

1)The minimum age limit for a Hindu girl would be 18 years
2)Marriages will be registered by local government offices and marriage certificates will be issued
3)Married Hindu girls will be entitled to their inheritance rights
4)After one year, individual may end her matrimonial life and will have the right to divorce.
5)If individuals are interested to re-marry, they can do after the period of six months of their divorce
6)Women may challenge their marriages in the court if they are deprived of their matrimonial rituals and rights
7)In the presence of first wife, second marriage will not be allowed
8)Violation of the Hindu Marriage Act will result in prosecution

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