TN: Couples Now Asked To Produce Documents of Parents’ Identity Making Parental Consent Mandatory Before Registering Marriage
In a new circular, Tamil Nadu government has made it a compulsory practice to bring original documents of parental identity for registration of Hindu marriages. It is believed that this circular would give the registrars an indirect path to ascertain whether parental consent was involved before the registration of marriage.
The circular would make parental consent mandatory
Last month, when a couple went to the registrar office, to get their marriage registered after a week of their wedding functions, they were asked to bring at least one of their parents with them. Recalling the incident, they said,” They insisted it would be better if we bring a parent, preferably our fathers. So, we went back and returned with our fathers.”
Previously, the only requirement for marriage registration was the presence of three witnesses.
The requirement is the result of an “internal circular” released by the Inspector General of Registration, Tamil Nadu on September 8, 2017. The circular includes a list of documents that may seem unprovocative, however, this paves a path for the registrars to know whether parents consent was sought.
The circular consists of four points. The first allows the Aadhaar card as an identity proof for the couple, parents and witnesses; the second point states that the initials, names and addresses of the parents written in the application should match to the details provided in the documentary testimonials and the process should be further carried only on such authentication. The third point states that in case a parent is mentioned dead in the application, then the couple needs to attach the death certificate or the copy with other documents as well.
All in all, the bottom line to this circular is that two Hindu adults aspiring to marry will not be able to register for marriage unless they possess the original documents of parental identity or in case of death, the death certificates.
According to The Hindu Article, an official source said that this circular would make it practically unfeasible for the couples to register their marriage without their parents will under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA). “See, it does not specify parental consent, but every point implies that. Couples can still register under the Special Marriage Act.”
The new circular meets with criticism
Indira Jaising, a senior advocate in Supreme Court, says that the circular is trying to introduce parental permission secretly. “Registrars under a State Act or Hindu Marriage Act cannot insist on that, and consent of parents cannot be demanded if two persons are of the age of marriage.”
She further adds,” The tragedy is the Hindu Marriage Act nowhere asks for the consent of the woman herself as a condition of a valid marriage. Who knows, maybe, they still think a daughter is “given away” by the father as kanyadan.”
Another advocate, Sudha Ramalingam says,” These are extraneous and unnecessary. The law does not demand the consent of anyone except the marrying couple. Witnesses are attesting as a witness to registration and not as consenters.” She continues,” The circular appears trivial on the face of it, but is fatal for a couple wanting to marry without parental consent.”
Akila Ramalingam, an advocate, reacts on the circular,” In the name of ID verification, these are paternalistic barriers to liberty brought in covert ways.”
Jaffer Mohammad, Additional Inspector General of Registration has refused the necessity of parental consent. Only if the application states any one parent or both as dead, then the death certificate is required. In reply to the question about the reasons behind the circular that makes parental consent necessary, he said,” The state government is not opposed to inter-caste marriages.”
However, the sources at Sub-registrar office consider the circular to be a result of complaints from parents. From last few years, there has been a demand for parental consent during registration of marriages by the caste outfits.
Marriage involves the consent of two grown-ups, who can think and function on their own. If sources are to be believed, who claim that the new circular will now make it compulsory for a couple to get their parents’ consent before registration, this new rule would not only shade the rights of the couple, but it would also promote caste-based discrimination, and would further add to the hindrances already faced during inter-caste marriages.