Anand Marriage Act likely to get imposed in Pakistan’s Punjab province after lockdown

LAHORE, Punjab—The work to frame rules for registering Sikh marriages under Sikh Anand Karaj Marriages Act in Pakistani Punjab has begun. It has come to fore that a draft of rules has been prepared which might come in effect soon after lifting of lockdown.

Notably, the ‘Punjab Sikhs Anand Karaj Marriages Act 2017’ was unanimously passed in the Pakistani Punjab’s assembly in March-2018 to legally recognize Sikh marriages in Punjab province of Pakistan.

Speaking to media, Parliamentary Secretary Mohinderpal Singh informed that this Bill will require the approval of governor after the rules are framed. “In this concern, we have already held a meeting with the Federal Home Ministry of Pakistan,” he added.  

Sources have revealed that if this Bill comes in effect then the newly wedded Sikh couples can register their marriages by filling a form within 30 days of their marriages.

To get divorced, the husband or wife will have to lodge a complaint with the Chairman of Sikh Anand Marriage Committee. The chairman will then issue a notice to the second party and it will be mandatory for the second party to meet the Arbitration Council within 30 days of receiving notice.

The Arbitration Council will give a chance to the duo parties to sort out their differences and will approve divorce, if the differences are not sorted out.

Meanwhile, it is learned that the Sikhs residing in other states of Pakistan have also become active to get this bill imposed in their states.

It is pertinent to note here that the marriages of Sikhs in Pakistan are currently registered by the authorities of Gurdwara Janam Asthan Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sri Panja Sahib and Gurdwara Bhai Joga Singh (Peshawar) but this registration doesn’t hold any legal value.  

According to this bill, a marriage ceremony, or Anand Karaj — which is defined as “the lawful union of a Sikh male and Sikh female” — will be performed in accordance with the religious practices as per Sikh tenets. A “marriage deed”, a legal document authorizing the matrimonial union, will then be issued by a registrar who will be appointed by the Punjab government.

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