Three years later, the Legislative Department of the Union Law Ministry prepared another draft Bill titled the Registration of Birth and Death (Amendment) Bill, 2015. The Department then asked the Law Commission to submit a report on the topic of compulsory registration of marriages. Specifically, the Commission was asked whether there should be a standalone legislation to provide for compulsory registration of marriages, whether amendments were required in existing central laws and whether registration could be done through online processes.
Noting that most states and union territories have their own Acts and Rules pertaining to compulsory registration, the Commission expressed a view that a separate legislation was not required. Instead, it backed the idea of introducing the 2015 Amendment Bill.
The Commission made it clear that the Bill would not interfere with existing state rules and religious customs. To quote from the Report,
“This Bill would supplement the domain of family laws that already exist and is not aimed at removing, abolishing or amending specific religious/ cultural practices and laws that are accepted under personal laws prevailing in India…
…The recommendation is not aimed at eliminating diversity of personal laws and instead accepts prevailing customs/or personal laws concerning solemnisation of marriage; provided that these marriages are registered under the Compulsory Registration of Births Deaths and Marriages Registration Act.”
In light of the conflict arising out of the diversity of personal laws in India as well as legislation relating to relating to child marriage, dowry prohibition and medical termination of pregnancy, the Commission recommended that all these contradicting legislations be considered while framing rules of registration.
The Commission also called for a centralized national online portal for maintenance of registration records. And in tune with the Centre’s assumption that Aadhaar has been accepted by one and all, the Commission has recommended that registration be linked to the Unique Identification Number (UID) of the parties.
The Bill provides for a penalty of five rupees per day in case of delay in registration of marriage without a reasonable cause. However, the Commission recommended that the penalty should be capped at a maximum of one hundred, “in view the prevailing conditions in our country”.
Source: The bar and Bench