The 212th Report of the Law Commission of India on the “Laws of Civil Marriages in India” and a Proposal to Resolve certain conflicts was received soliciting the views of the State Government.
By Notification No. LAW/ACT/239/09 dated April 24, 2009 a committee consisting of the following members was formed to examine the report:
1. Principal Secretary, Justice and Law Department - Chairman
2. Chairperson, Women Commission - Member
3. President, Naga Mothers’ Association - Member
4. President, Naga Students’ Federation - Member
5. President, Naga Hoho - Member
6. General Secretary, NBCC - Member
7. Parish Priest, Catholic Cathedral - Member
8. President, Nagaland Christian Forum - Member
9. President, ENPO - Member
The meeting was held on the April 13. The Naga Hoho opined that since it concerns marriages and divorce it will require wider consultation.
The ENPO suggested that the issue needs to be discussed at the grassroots level as it may have negative impact to Christian marriage.
The NSF held the view that it needs to adopt to the recommendation made by the Law Commission of India but at the same time the Christian Marriages should be protected.
Naga Mothers’ Association, Churches Associations; ENSF and other group views could not be obtained. The matter demands critical study for rendering opinions and suggestion to arrive at a certain point of agreement.
The Recommendations are: -
1. The word ‘Special’ be dropped from the title of the Special Marriages Act 1954 and it be simply called “The Marriage Act 1954’ or “The Marriage and Divorce Act 1954”.
The suggested change will create a desirable feeling that this is the general law of India on marriage and divorce and that there is nothing “special” about a marriage solemnized under its provisions. It is in fact marriages solemnized under the community-specific laws which should be regarded as “special”
2. A provision be added to the application clause in the Special Marriage Act 1954 that all inter-religious marriages except those within the Hind~ Buddhist, Sikh and Jain communities, whether solemnized or registered under this Act or not shall be governed by this Act.
3. The definition of ‘degrees of prohibited relationship’ given in Section 2 (b) in the Special Marriage Act 1954 and the First Schedule detailing such degrees appended to the Act be omitted. Instead, it should be provided in Section 4 of the Act that prohibited degrees in marriage in any case of an intended civil marriage shall be regulated by the marriage law (or laws) otherwise applicable to the parties.
4. The requirement of a gazette notification for recognition of custom relating to prohibited degrees in marriage found in the Explanation to Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act 1954 be deleted.
5. The same provision in respect of prohibited degrees in marriage (as suggested in paragraph 3 above) be incorporated also into Section 4 of the Foreign Marriage Act 1969. The proviso to clause (d) of that Section and clause (a) of Section 2 of the Act be deleted.
6. All references to succession and joint family be removed from the Special Marriage Act 1954 and Sections 19, 20, 21 and 21-A of the Special Marriage Act 1954, dealing with succession and membership of joint family, be repealed.
7. A provision be inserted into the Indian Succession Act 1925 that any person whichever community he or she belongs to may, by a declaration on affidavit or by a written and duly attested will, opt for the application of this Act instead of the law of succession otherwise applicable to him or her.
This matter calls for detail deliberations and opinions from various Apex Tribal bodies, Churches Associations, NGOs, groups and individuals. It is requested that the recommendation and report be examined and views be sent to.
Ngamjok Konyak, Joint Legal Remembrancer, Department of Justice and Law, Civil Secretariat, Kohima within 2 (two) months time for onward transmission to the Government of India. The report can be downloaded from www.lawcommissionofindia.nic.in
This was stated in a press release issued by joint legal remembrancer to the Government of Nagaland, Ngamjok Konyak.