New law on Sikh marriages on the anvil
LAHORE: A new draft of law regulating the marriages of Sikh community in Punjab is being made to replace the one already introduced in the Punjab Assembly by Sikh MPA Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora.
The new law will actually replace the Anand Mangi Act, 1909 which had become almost irrelevant after the migration of Sikhs to India in 1947. It is being introduced for the first time in Pakistan by the MPA of a small Sikh community whose members are running business in different cities including Lahore, and have even joined government service, one is a traffic warden and another an information officer in the DGPR.
According to the draft bill, all marriages between Sikh persons, whether solemnised before or after this act, shall be registered with a union council. A duly completed and signed Sikh Marriage form shall be submitted to the marriage registrar and notified to the union council within 30 days of the date of marriage.
Each union council shall grant licence to one or more persons for the purposes of entering and registering Sikh marriages in the marriage registry.
A party to a Sikh marriage seeking to dissolve the marriage shall do so by submitting a signed written notice to the chairman and shall at the same time provide a copy of the said written notices to his or her spouse. Within 30 days of the receipt of a written notice, the chairman shall constitute an arbitration council.
Within 90 days of the receipt of the written notice, the arbitration council shall meet in order to provide an opportunity to both parties to be heard to bring about reconciliation.
The chairman’s powers on the dissolution of a Sikh marriage shall be limited to issuing a dissolution decree in accordance with this act.
Upon dissolution, either party to a Sikh marriage may make an application to a court for financial relief in the form of an order for maintenance or lumpsum payment for themselves and or any dependent child.
The court will make such order for financial relief that it deems fit, proper and just in all the circumstances, taking into account the length of the marriage, the financial needs of the parties, of any dependent children of the marriage and the respective incomes of the parties to the marriage.
Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2018