The UK government is planning to make changes in the Marriage Act to make any Nikah (marriage) a criminal offence if not registered with the concerned authorities. According to Pakistan-based Dawn News, any Imam who presides over a Nikah, which has not been registered, can face criminal proceedings.
The Dawn News report said that a green paper in this regard has already been prepared by the Department of Communities and Local Government in UK. Public opinion has been sought before the draft goes for legislation and the deadline for the same ends June 5.
According to the proposed amendment in the Act, the marriage needs to be duly registered either before the Nikal or on the same day when the religious ceremony is conducted. The norm is also applicable to members of Christian and Jew community.
The basic purpose of the proposed amendment, according to the report, is to ease divorce proceedings. Caught in any such situation, a woman can directly approach the court of law for divorce instead of being dependent on the proceedings of Sharia council.
Dawn News said that there are more than 1 lakh Muslim couples in UK who have not got their Nikah registered. There are also reports of some Imams getting couples married without even verifying their immigration status. Report said that a large chunk of such immigrants hail from Pakistan and Bangladesh.