ISLAMABAD: The much-awaited landmark Hindu Marriage Bill to regulate marriages of Hindus in Pakistan has been passed by the Parliament on Thursday.
The Hindu Marriage Bill 2017 is the first personal law to regulate the marriages of Hindu Community living in the country.
The bill was presented by Senator Kamran Michael, Minister for Human Rights on Thursday in the National Assembly and it now needs signature of the President to become a law.
Minister for Human Rights Senator Kamran Michael has said that Ministry of Human Rights took lead to protect the rights of minorities and after obtaining No Objection Certificate from Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, acted as administrative Ministry to process the Bill.
Michael said it was a constitutional obligation to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities and to protect the marriage, the family, the mother and the child.
“There was no law to regulate the registration of Hindu marriages and ancillary matters thereto”, he added.
He said incumbent government was committed to protect and promote the human rights including the rights of women and minorities.
The Bill was finalised after numerous consultations with relevant Ministries/ Divisions and representatives of Hindu community.
The Bill prohibits the marriage of minors by prescribing the minimum age of eighteen years as a condition precedent for contracting marriage.
It also protects customs and customary rites of Hindu community.
For the first time in the history of Pakistan, the Hindu Marriage Bill provides mechanism for registration of Hindu marriage which includes conditions for contracting the marriage, procedure for dissolution of the marriage and the grounds on the basis of which such marriage can be dissolved.
It also provides the concept of judicial separation where marriage remains intact, however, parties are no longer under obligation to cohabit each other.
Moreover, the legitimacy of children born out of void and voidable Hindu marriages has also been protected.
The bill will help Hindu women to get documentary proof of their marriage.
The Ministry of Human Rights had been working relentlessly for three years to have a Hindu marriage law in the country.
The Ministry also obtained Resolutions form the Provincial governments to regulate the marriage under one law applicable to whole of Pakistan.
It will, however, be the first personal law for Pakistani Hindus, which will be applicable in the province of Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Sindh province has already formulated its own Hindu Marriage Law.
The law pave the way for a document `Shadi Parat’ containing particulars of bride and groom to be registered with the relevant government department.