Islamabad: Pakistan's Supreme Court has given a two-week deadline to the government to finalise the draft of the proposed Hindu marriage registration bill to help remove hurdles in registering marriages among the minority community.
The apex court yesterday expressed anger at the delay in the legislation and ordered that it should be approved by the cabinet and then presented in parliament.
The directions were issued when Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, drew the attention of the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk to the issue and asked the court to intervene in the delay of the key legislation.
The bench heard a case relating to the implementation of a set of guidelines issued by the court in a June 19 judgement on minority rights.
Due to the absence of the law, Hindu couples faced difficulties in getting their marriages registered as per Hindu customs, the Dawn reported today.
This issue has been highlighted before the Supreme Court more than once.
In 2012, a bench headed by then chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had taken up a similar issue over a newspaper column that pointed out problems faced by Hindus living in Pakistan in obtaining Computerised National Identity Cards and passports.
A National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) representative told the court yesterday that it was facing problems in the registration of marriage certificates from Sindh, where most of the country's Hindu population resides.
After the yesterday's proceedings, Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt was asked to ensure that cabinet approves the bill on the registration of Hindu marriages.
After hearing the verdict, Vankwani said he would meet the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on January 19 to discuss matters relating to the protection of holy places, including the Smadhi of Shri Param Hans Ji Maharaj.
The Supreme Court will take up the matter again on February 11.