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Sikhs demand enactment of a separate marriage act

Amritsar, Mon, 26 Sep 2011 ANI

Amritsar, Sep 26 (ANI): Sikh leaders and activists have demanded the enactment of a separate codified marriage act for their community at the earliest.


Urging the central government to accept their demand, Sikh academicians, legal experts and activists discussed the issue at a panel discussion, exchanging views on the matter through an intense debate, that was attended by community members.


Deeming it as their constitutional right, Sikh leaders said that the Anand Marriage Act of 1909, which governed the marriage laws of Sikhs till 1950, needs to be reintroduced by the central government.


The Anand Marriage Act of 1909 was diluted after the Indian Constitution was enforced in 1950, following which all Sikh marriages were governed under the Hindu Marriage Act.


Highlighting that the Indian Constitution did not include a provision envisaging a separate code of law for Sikh marriages, several activists asserted that the issue was a matter of Sikh identity as a whole.


Lauding the campaign that is slowly gathering momentum, many Sikh leaders said their main objective was to spread awareness among community members on the need for a separate marriage act.


"The initial thing is how to create awareness among the people. I think it is a very good attempt to make the Sikh community aware where they have been discriminated against in the Constitution, where they have been discriminated under the laws. So, I think this attempt is successful. Till the people are made aware of their rights, only they can pressurise the members of parliament to amend the laws. I think we have started from the rights place," said Navpreet Singh, a Sikh lawyer.


At present, only the Muslim community of India has a separate marriage act in India.


Meanwhile, some activists maintained that no legal objection could be raised over their demands.


"I do not think there is a legal hurdle. There is no provision in the constitution or any other law, which can, you can say, create hurdles for the passing of these acts. There is to be a political will. If political will is there, it is very easy, because Sikhs are part and parcel of India. Sikhs are not a separate entity you can say, they are part and parcel of India and constitution recognises, as I told you, Sikh religion," said Daljeet Singh, Principal of the Khalsa College in Amritsar.


To lend credibility to their cause, the Sikh leaders even passed a resolution after the discussion, in which they stated that the passing of the Anand Marriage Act was 'a need of the hour.'


Sikh leaders also urged political parties and lawmakers to support the endeavour and raise the issue in the Parliament. (ANI)


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