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March 20, 2017

President signs Hindu Marriage Bill into law

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March 20, 2017

ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain on Sunday signed The Hindu Marriage Bill 2017 into law, providing for regulation of Hindu marriages in the country. The president signed the bill on the advice of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif that had earlier been passed by both the Senate and the National Assembly.

After the presidential assent, the bill has now been enacted as law of the land, aiming at protecting the marriage, the family, the mother, and child and also to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Hindu families, according to a PM House statement.

It is a consolidated law for solemnization of marriages by Hindu families, residing in Pakistan. According to the statement, the prime minister said his government had always focused on provision of equal rights to minority communities.

"They are as patriotic as any other community and therefore it is the responsibility of the state to provide equal protection to them", he said. Through this bill, the Hindu families would be able to solemnise marriages in accordance with the customary rites, rituals and ceremonies, he added.

He said the government would appoint marriage registrars in areas convenient for Hindu population for registration of their marriages.

This law also provides for procedures relating to restitution of conjugal rights, judicial separation, void and voidable marriages, termination of Hindu marriage, financial security of wife and children, alternative relief in termination of marriage and termination of marriage by mutual consent. Moreover, this law also provides the right of separated person to marry again, entitlement of re-marriage by a Hindu widow at her own will and consent after stipulated time, legitimacy of child born, out of void and voidable Hindu marriage. Under this law, Hindu marriages solemnized before commencement of this law would be deemed valid and petitions under this law would be presented to the family courts.

The law also provides for punishments of imprisonment and fines up to Rs100,000 or both for contraventions. All offences under this law would be non-cognizable and non-compoundable and would be triable by the Court of First Class Magistrate.

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