Thursday, November 01, 2007

Indian Supreme Court Orders Registration of All Religious Marriages

Last week, according to the BBC, India's Supreme Court ruled for a second time that all marriages must be registered with the government. Currently, particularly in rural areas, most marriages are entered through a religious ceremony and not registered with civil authorities. A February 2006 ruling had already required registration, but some Indian states only mandated this for Hindu marriages. Last July, the Supreme Court granted the five states that are not in compliance a last chance to amend their law. (See prior posting.) Apparently last week's ruling ordering the registration of non-Hindu weddings as well comes after these states failed to enact their own rules. The order, however, is being opposed by leaders in the Muslim community who say they have their own system of registration in place. Today's Mauritius Times carries a long dispatch from India discussing the background of the Supreme Court's order and its impact on women's rights.