Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Thursday said the state government is examining the demand for making marriage certificate mandatory.
“…after obtaining the views of law department, while also looking into the similar Acts by other states, further course of action will be taken accordingly in the best interest of the people of Meghalaya,” Sangma said while replying to a zero-hour notice moved by North Shillong Adelbert Nongrum in the Assembly.
He also reminded that the Meghalaya Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act, 2012, was enacted to provide for compulsory registration of marriage in the state.
This was after seeing that practice of cohabitation without entering into formal marriage and registration is prevalent in the state and this leads to high rate of desertion of women by their husbands and the women are left to fend for themselves and their children in the absence of any document to prove the marriage, he stated.
Sangma said the latest Amendment of 2019 (Act No.8 of 2019) has merely defined ‘Official Purposes’ as- Contract of Marriage entered between the parties for addressing issues pertaining to pension, succession, and maintenance of spouse, which is nothing but a clarificatory amendment without any prejudice to the object of the Act of 2012.
He added that the mandatory provisions of compulsory registration under Section 3 of the Act have not been done away with, it has only been clarified that for what ‘official purposes’ the submission of the registration certificate of marriages is required to be furnished.
The chief minister further stated that the term “official purposes” as defined ibid, addressing the issues pertaining to Pensions, Succession and Maintenance of Spouse is not restricted in its application to Government (Central and State) only.
It has universal application, extending to all persons, entities, be it Government, Semi-Government, Private, etc. in the absence of any restrictive qualification to Government only.
Also, it does not mandate the requirement of having a Compulsory Marriage Registration/Certificate for purposes such as to apply for Passport, Ration Card, Home Loan, and Registration of Joint Property, etc., other than for the purposes of Pension, Succession and Maintenance of Spouse.
Accordingly, it would be optional for the people to produce Marriage Registration Certificate under this Act in order to avail these services and facilities, as and when required.
The definition of official purposes included three critical rights arising out of any matrimonial alliance, viz. Pension, Succession and Maintenance of Spouse and the Act does not have specific injunction for registration of marriages for purposes other than the defined under the ‘official purposes’.