New Delhi: Meeting a long-standing demand of the Sikh community, Parliament on Tuesday passed a law allowing them to register their marriages under the Anand Marriage Act instead of the Hindu Marriage Act.
The Sikhs will be able to register their marriages under the Anand Marriage Act, Law Minister Salman Khurshid said replying to the debate on the amendment Bill which was later approved by voice vote.
It was earlier passed by Rajya Sabha.
Although the Anand Marriage law was enacted in 1909, there was no provision for registration of marriages which were registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
Admitting that it had taken a lot of time to pursue amendments in the Anand Marriage Act, Khurshid said, this was a symbolic gesture and "we should respect the sentiments of all communities ...Whether Bodos or any other group."
Sikh groups have maintained that members of the community face problems abroad as their certificates are issued under the Hindu Marriage Act. Besides Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists are issued certificates under the Hindu laws.
Sikh marriage ceremonies are known as `Anand Karaj` (blissful event).
According to the 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 in force.
Supporting the bill, Harsimrat Kaur (SAD) said Sikhs face problems abroad because while they identify themselves as Sikhs, their marriages are registered under the Hindu Marriage Act. She thanked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for approving the amendments in a recent Cabinet meeting.
P S Bajwa (Cong) said it was necessary to make it clear that the Act was never repealed as claimed by some writers in the recent past. Several other members cutting across party lines supported the Bill.