India rejected separate Sikh Marriage Act which Pak enacted 4 yrs ago
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While the Centre's refusal to enact Anand Karaj (Marriage) Act has taken the Sikh circles by a storm, they point to the case of Pakistan where a separate law to register marriages of the community was framed four years ago.
Pakistan had passed Sikh Anand Marriage Act 2007 to validate the marriage ceremony but in India they are registered under the Hindu Marriage Act.
So strong is the law to register marriages in Pakistan that a Sikh from anywhere in the world can register his or her marriage there, though the marriage ceremony has to be conducted in the country as it extends the provisions of the law applicable to any Sikh irrespective of his nationality. There had been instances when Sikhs from various countries had got their marriages registered in Pakistan.
The Sikhs had lauded Pakistan's move to enact the law in 2007 and even appealed to the Union government to take a similar decision. "Even during the British times, Sikhs had Anand Marriage Act 1909 framed and the same should have been adopted in Indian Constitution," said Shiromani Panthak Council chairman Manjit Singh Calcutta.
In Pakistan, the government and Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) issue appropriate marriage certificates. The gurdwaras including Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore, Gurdwara Janam Asthan, Chunna Mandi, Lahore, Janam Asthan, Nanaka Sahib, Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Hassan Abdal, Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh, Peshawar, Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, Narowal had been accredited to issue marriage certificates.
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and SGPC has also demanded that the Anand Karaj Act is framed at the earliest.
They said the Sikhs deserve the law and had been demanding consistently for almost a century but successive governments in the Centre have played down the demand. "The new law is more needed because of introduction of compulsory registration of marriages in 2006 in India," said Calcutta, who is also a Sikh scholar.