Islamabad notifies rules for Hindu Marriage Act after much delay

Islamabad, Apr 07 (PTI):
Pakistan’s Islamabad capital administration has notified the Hindu Marriage Act 2017, more than five years after its passage, a development that could benefit members of the minority community who can now solemnise their marriage in line with established rituals, a media report said on Friday.
The notification titled Islamabad Capital Territory Hindu Marriage Rules 2023′ will pave the way for the implementation of the marriage act passed in 2017 in the Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan provinces as well, the Dawn newspaper reported.
An Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration official said the notification was forwarded for implementation to all Union Councils of the federal territory.
According to the rules, relevant Union Councils in Islamabad will register a Maharaj’ to solemnise marriages.
According to the report, a Hindu male with adequate knowledge of Hinduism can become a Pundit’ or Maharaj’.
However, the ‘Maharaj’ will be appointed only after the submission of a character certificate from the local police and the written approval of at least 10 members of the Hindu community, the report said.
Mehfooz Piracha, district attorney for Islamabad Capital Territory, who drafted the rules, told the newspaper that the notification “is a major step” towards ensuring the rights of the minority community.
He added that the Punjab, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces can adopt these rules now.
“Politically and technically, it is easy for provinces to adopt the laws enacted in Islamabad rather than formulating new legislation for each jurisdiction,” Piracha was quoted as saying in the report.
Similar to the case of the “registered nikah-khawan” for Muslims, respective Union Councils will issue a “Shaadi Pert” (marriage certificate) to the Maharaj’ registered with the relevant local government body.
All marriages would be registered at the Union Councils as well, the report said.
According to the rules, a Maharaj’ appointed under the Marriage Act would not take any money for officiating the marriage except for the fees mandated by the government.
According to the report, Section 7 of the rules deals with cases related to the termination of marriages and remarriages.

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