Hindu Marriage Law in Bangladesh
The Daily Star May 23, 2012
A number of rights and development activists have expressed concern and discontent over the draft Hindu Marriage Registration Act 2012, which makes marriage registration for Hindus “optional”.
They demanded the marriage registration be made mandatory in the law approved by the cabinet on Monday to ensure rights of the Hindu women.
If the draft is enacted as it is, the Hindu women would not get any benefits from the law and prevailing social discrimination and repression would persist, because most of the men would use the law for their own interests, they said.
The activists believe that rights of both men and women of Hindu community will be protected if the law makes marriage registration mandatory, a media statement said yesterday.
It also said Hindu Bibaho Ain Pronoyone Nagorik Udyog, a citizens’ initiative to make a law for Hindu marriage, demanded enactment of a full-fledged Hindu marriage law, making marriage registration mandatory and including a provision for divorce.
The social activists, however, congratulated the government for endorsing the draft of the Registration (Amendment) Act 2012, which incorporates provisions of donation of land verbally by members of the Hindu, Christian, Buddha and other religions by paying Tk 100 as fee.
Under the existing law, only the Muslims could register land under Heba Dalil [verbal donation] by paying Tk 100.
Signatories of the statement include Advocate Sultana Kamal, Nina Goswami of Ain O Salish Kendra; Shaheen Anam, Rina Roy, Banashree Mitra Neogi and Arpita Das of Manusher Jonno Foundation; Ayesha Khanam, Rakhi Das Purakayastha and Advocate Ramlal Raha of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad; Angela Gomes and Nazrul Islam of Banchte Shekha; Prof Meghna Guhathakurata and Krishna Dev of Research Initiatives Bangladesh (RIB); Aroma Dutta of PRIP Trust; Ranjan Karmakar and Rekha Shaha of Steps Towards Development; Rita Das Roy of Naripokkho; Dr Maleka Begum of Dhaka University; Krishna Chanda of GIZ; Sushama Rani Mandol, APP of Gazipur Judge Court; Manjushi Shaha of RDRS; Kalpana of CARE Bangladesh, and Ruma Halder and Ila Chanda.
The Daily Star May 22, 2012
The cabinet yesterday approved a draft law to register marriage of the Hindu people.
The draft of the Hindu Marriage Registration Act, 2012 will be the first law of its kind in Bangladesh once it is passed in parliament.
The registration of marriage of Hindu people, however, would be optional in the proposed act, cabinet secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told reporters after the meeting. He said the Hindu customary marriage will remain effective and legal even after the law is enacted.
But those who want to register their marriage will get some benefits, including getting visas for their spouses and children, he added.
The cabinet also endorsed the draft of the Registration (Amendment) Act, 2012 incorporating provisions for donating land verbally by members of Hindu, Christian, Buddha and other religions paying Tk 100 as fee.
Under the existing law, which was passed in 2005, only the Muslims could register the land under Heba Dalil [verbal donation] by paying Tk 100.
The draft of the Vested Property Return (Amendment) Act, 2012 was also endorsed by the cabinet raising the timeframe of publishing the list of vested properties in the country to 300 days from existing 150 days considering the vastness of the workload.
“The list is nearly two crore pages. Of them, one crore pages have so far been printed and more time is required to complete the gigantic task,” said the cabinet secretary, adding that the timeline for release and return of vested properties have also been extended to 120 days from existing 90 days.
The government enacted the law last year.
President of Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad Advocate Subrata Chowdhury yesterday urged the authorities concerned to implement the suggestion of parliamentary standing committee on law ministry for framing Hindu marriage registration act.
Subrata made the call at an Eid reunion programme at Mirsarai in the district on Friday night.
Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry Engineer Mosharraf Hossain was present at the function as the chief guest with Mirsarai Upazila Puja Udjapon Parishad president Uttam Sharma in the chair.
General Secretary of the committee Anirban Chowdhury Rajib, Ctg Zila Puja Parishad President Prof Narayan Chowdhury and General Secretary Shyamal Kumar Palita were present.
The government will enact a law soon over marriage registration of Hindu people in order to ensure their relevant rights, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said yesterday.
The marriage registration will remain as a document, but would not affect the religious culture and rituals of Hindus, he said.
He was speaking as the chief guest at a seminar titled “Full-fledged Hindu marriage law: Hindu citizens’ rights” organised by Hindu Bibaho Ain Pronoyone Nagorik Uddog in association with Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) at BIAM auditorium in the city.
Shafique said the government had discussed the matters with legal experts, Hindu scholars, and justices for formulating a Hindu marriage registration law.
The government is planning to make the marriage registration for Hindus compulsory like that of the Muslims, he said.
The government will also consult with experts and stakeholders over the issue of divorce of Hindu people, since this issue is very complicated, he added.
The law minister said the government would also make a separate law so that the Hindu, Buddhist and Christian people could make ‘declaration of gift’ on a Tk 100 court fee like the Muslims.
He said the government had formed tribunals at district level to deal with the vested properties in order to protect the rights of the religious minority people over their lands.
The tribunals will take measures to return the lands to their original owners upon receiving applications, he added.
Prof M Shah Alam, acting chairman of Law Commission, Selina Hossain, member of National Human Rights Commission, Rana Dasgupta, prosecutor at the International Crimes Tribunals, Sultana Kamal, executive director of Ain O Salish Kendra, Shaheen Anam, executive director of MJF, and Dr Ajoy Roy, convener of Moulabad and Samprodaikota Birodhi Moncho, also addressed the programme.