Islamabad, March 10: Pakistan National Assembly on Friday 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. The bill was passed after amendments made by the Senate.Minister of Human Rights, Kamran Michael said till now there was no law to regulate the registration of Hindu marriages and ancillary matters in Pakistan. 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, said Pakistani Minister.
He said the government was committed to protecting and promoting the human rights, including the rights of women and minorities. The bill was finalized after numerous consultations with relevant ministries, divisions and representatives of the Hindu community.
The bill will enable the Hindu community to get their marriages registered and to appeal in courts of law in cases of separation. As well as bill prohibits the marriage of minors and prescribes a minimum age of 18-years for contracting marriage. It also protects the customs and customary rites of the Hindu community in Pakistan.
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".
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. Meanwhile, It will be the first personal law, applicable in Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Sindh has already formulated its own Hindu marriage law.