NEW DELHI: Ruled by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Delhi has become first state of the country to implement the Anand Marriage Act for registration of Sikh marriages, thus fulfilling a 100 year old demand of Sikh community. A norification in this regard is expected next week.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and BJP who ruled Sikh dominated state Punjab for more than ten years had however failed to implement the act in the state even though it became an Act in 2012. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal faced flak by Sikhs for ignoring the act despite being head of a Panthic party. It is understood that Akali Dal didn’t implement the act under pressure from alliance partner BJP. Even present incumbent, the Congress Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has not taken any initiative to implement the Anand Marriage Act.
It was long standing demand of the Sikh community to register Sikh marriages under the Anand Marriage Act of 1909 passed by the British Imperial (i.e. Governor-General`s) Legislative Council to establish legal “validity of the marriage ceremony common among the Sikhs called Anand Karaj. In 2012, when Dr. Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister, the Parliament passed The Anand Marriage (Amendment) Bill, after which Sikhs are able to register their marriages under the Anand Marriage Act instead of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955. The then President of India Pratibha Patil had given her consent to the bill same year.
The LG office has reportedly sent the approval to the Anand Marriage Act to Delhi Government and Secretary Law department is expected to process the file in next few days before a notification is issued.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) General Secretary Mr. Manjinder Singh Sirsa has welcomed the decision to implement the Anand Marriage Act in Delhi. He claimed that he had taken up the matter with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and apprised him of the status of the act passed by the President and lack of its implementation in Delhi.
He said that with this a more than century old demand of the Sikhs will be fulfilled. He disclosed that it was in year 1909 when the demand for act had been made up for the first time. He said that a long battle had to be fought for enacting this act and its implementation. He said that in year 2012 then President Mrs. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil had cleared Anand Marriage (amendment) act and all the states were asked to implement it.
Sirsa said that now he was taking up the issue of its implementation with the Chief Ministers and Chief Secretaries of different states and also written letters to them. He said that yesterday he had met Assam Chief Minister Mr. Sarbanand Sonowal had assured him that this act will be implemented in Assam soon.
— Manjinder S Sirsa (@mssirsa) July 27, 2017
Even though Act is not implemented by Punjab Government he has claimed in the statement that this act has already been implemented in Haryana and Punjab.
Sirsa said that lack of awareness was becoming a hindrance in implementation of the act. He said that now the members of the Sikh community are being made aware that this act has already been enacted and implemented and they should register their marriages under the act only.
Sikhs faced problems abroad as their certificates were issued under Hindu Marriage Act
The DSGMC General Secretary also said that biggest problem was being faced by the Non Resident Indians (NRIs) who were facing harassment as they always mentioned their religion as Sikh but marriages were not registered under the act.
Sikh marriage ceremonies are known as ‘Anand Karaj’ (blissful event).
According to the Anand Marriage (Amendment) Bill, couples whose marriages have been registered under this Act will not be required to get their marriage registered under the Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths Act, 1969, or any other law for the time being. – PTI