Punjab

Punjab Assembly Passes Sikh Marriage Bill

The Punjab Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed the Punjab Sikhs Anand Karaj Marriages Act 2017, a bill that will provide legal status to Sikh marriages in the province.
The bill was tabled by provincial minister Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora in 2017 and was signed by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif last week. The passing of the bill has effectively repealed the Anand Marraige Act, 1909 that was passed by the British.
The bill will come into force immediately after it has been approved by the governor. Once the bill has been approved, every Sikh marriage that took place before the bill came into force, would also gain legal status.
According to the bill, a marriage ceremony, or Anand Karaj — which is defined as “the lawful union of a Sikh male and Sikh female” — will be performed in accordance with the religious practices as permitted in the Sikh religious text Guru Granth Sahib. The ceremony would be performed by a male or female called a “Granthi” who would read out from Guru Granth Sahib.
A “marriage deed”, a legal document authorising the matrimonial union, will then be issued by a registrar who will be appointed by the Punjab government.
If a marriage certificate is not issued after the ceremony has taken place, it must be “reported” to the registrar by the Granthi who “solemnised the marriage”.
MPA Arora, who presented the bill in the assembly, claimed that “Pakistan [will be] the only country in the world that would register Sikh marriages” once the bill is passed.
Previously, the records of Sikh marriages were maintained in a Gurdwara.