Islamabad, February 18: Pakistan Senate on Saturday unanimously passed the much-awaited Hindu Marriage Bill 2017, in a landmark move aimed to get Hindu marriages registered and separation cases could be resolved in the courts. It will be the first personal law, applicable in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Sindh has already formulated its own Hindu marriage law.The bill presented in the Senate by Law Minister Zahid Hamid faced no opposition or objection. It was mainly due to the considerate and sympathetic views expressed by the senators and the MNAs of all political parties in the relevant standing committees, According to dawn report.
The bill was approved by the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights on Jan 2 with an overwhelming majority. However, Senator Mufti Abdul Sattar of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl had opposed the bill, claiming that the Constitution was fast enough to cater for such needs. The bill had already been approved by the lower house or the National Assembly of Pakistan.
The bill will enable the Hindu community to get their marriages registered and to appeal in courts of law in cases of separation. There are penalties for violating the provisions of the bill, which allows Hindus to finally have a proof of marriage document called the shadiparat, similar to the nikahnama for Muslims.
The bill also allows separated Hindu persons to remarry. Clause 17 of the bill states that a Hindu widow "shall have the right to re-marry of her own will and consent after the death of her husband provided a period of six months has elapsed after the husband’s death".