MDA Govt asked to hold consultation on proposed amendment to Marriage Act

Shillong, Sept 10: The Maitshaphrang has asked the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government to invite stakeholders for consultation before going ahead with its decision to amend the Meghalaya Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act, 2012.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, convener and noted social activist, Michael Syiem reminded the state government that Meghalaya is not Jammu & Kashmir.

“This is not Jammu & Kashmir where you can amend without consultation. Here in Meghalaya, we want consultation before bringing any amendment,” Syiem said.

He informed that a memorandum was also submitted to the chief minister, Conrad K Sangma for his intervention into the need to hold consultation with stakeholders on the issue.

The demand came after the state government has introduced the Meghalaya Compulsory Registration of Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Assembly on the first day of the ongoing autumn session on September 6.

The Bill seeks to insert a new clause (j) in Section 2 of the Meghalaya Compulsory Registration Act, 2012 where it stated, “Official purposes in relation to the said Act shall mean a Contract of Marriage entered between the parties for addressing issues pertaining to pension, succession, and maintenance of spouse.”

In the memorandum to the CM, Syiem said, “By redefining the term “official purposes” from its original definition “for all official purposes”, we would like the government to clarify whether by this amendment the Act will cover only those in the government service thereby leaving out the vast majority of men and women outside the government sector, especially those women living under the poverty line in our society who are the main victims of this unjust system and who are in need of protection under this law.”

He said when this law was in the drafting stage, the law department had invited all concerned individuals, groups and institutions to give their views and suggestions in the making of this law which resulted in the inclusion of this very important clause, “to make the marriage registration certificate mandatory for all official purposes” so that every man and woman in the state who wishes to get married must compulsorily register their marriage as per the provisions of the Act irrespective of whether they are government employees or not.