Compulsory Registration of Marriages

Compulsory Registration of Marriages The Supreme Court vide its judgment dated 14.02.2006 in Seema Vs. Ashwani Kumar (AIR 2006 S.C 1158) has directed the State Governments and the Central Government that marriages of all persons who are citizens of India belonging to various religious denomination should be made compulsorily registerable in their respective States where such marriages are solemnized.

Giving this information in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha this week, Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister of Law & Justice, said that it is not correct to say that the process of registration of marriages is cumbersome. The process for compulsory registration of marriage is worked out by respective State Governments and the Union Territory Administrations by making suitable legislation/ rules or by amending existing legislation/ rules on the basis of the situation obtained in their respective territories to make the process simple and easier. Hence, no separate action by the Central Government is considered necessary, Shri Khurshid said.

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JAN LOKPAL BILL- ALL PARTY MEETING APPEAL TO SHRI ANNA HAZARE TO END FAST

Anna Hazare - Delhi

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This meeting of all parties in Parliament requests Shri Anna Hazare to end his fast. The meeting was also of the view that due consideration should be given to the Jan Lokpal Bill so that the Final Draft of the Lokpal Bill provides for a strong and effective Lokpal which is supported by a broad national consensus.

JAN LOKPAL BILL- Prime Ministers opening remarks at the All Party Meeting

Manmohan Singh, current prime minister of India.

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Following is the text of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh`s opening remarks at the All Party Meeting on Lokpal Bill:

I welcome you all to this All Party Meeting on the Lokpal Bill, which is before the Standing Committee.  In our last meeting on July 3, we all had agreed that we must enact a strong Lokpal Bill which can deal with the menace of corruption.  During the meeting, two Lokpal Bills, one prepared by the official members of the Joint Drafting Committee, and the other, the Jan Lokpal Bill, were presented before you.  The consensus that emerged was that the Government should bring a strong and effective Lokpal Bill in the coming Session of the Parliament for enactment by following the established legislative procedure.

 The Government had accordingly prepared a Bill and introduced it in the Lok Sabha on 4 August, 2011.  The Bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice and it is being discussed in that Committee. Meanwhile, Shri Anna Hazareji and his colleagues have continued to maintain their stand in support of the Jan Lokpal Bill.  Shri Anna Hazareji went on fast at the Ramlila Maidan from 16 August to press for their demands.

I have personally stated the Government’s position in public on more than one occasion.  We want a strong and effective Lokpal Bill.  Accordingly, we would like the Standing Committee to consider all points of view to evolve a broad based national consensus to create a strong institution of the Lokpal.The fast of Shri Anna Hazareji and his failing health are a matter of concern to all of us.  Yesterday, I felt that I should take a personal initiative to appeal to Shri Anna Hazareji to end his fast so that we may work together in a spirit of cooperative engagement to bring into existence a strong Lokpal.

Accordingly, I wrote to him requesting him to end his fast and reiterated Government’s intention to pass the best possible Lokpal legislation with inputs from civil society and on the basis of the broadest possible consensus.  I said that the  matter was with the Standing Committee and the Committee was entitled to consider not only the Bill introduced by the Government but the Jan Lokpal Bill and other versions like those prepared by Shrimati Aruna Roy as well. I said that our Government was prepared to request the Speaker of the Lok Sabha to formally refer the Jan Lokpal Bill also to the Standing Committee for their holistic consideration along with everything else.  I also said that the Government can formally request the Standing Committee to fast-track their deliberations to the extent reasonably feasible, subject to its discretion and the necessity to reflect deeply and spend adequate time on such an important Bill.

 Following this, Shri Anna Hazare agreed to hold discussions with the Government.  Accordingly, Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Shri Salman Khurshid met with three of his representatives to find a way out of the present impasse.  Broadly their position is that (a) the Government should withdraw the Bill introduced in Parliament (b) the Jan Lokpal Bill should be introduced with some changes in Parliament within four days and (c) this Bill should be discussed and passed during this session of Parliament by extending it if necessary, with minor amendments adopted by Parliament, and without referring the Bill to the Standing Committee.  If a written commitment can be given with timelines, then the representatives said they can hopefully persuade Annaji to stop his fast. I will ask Pranabji to brief us later in more detail on what transpired in the meeting.

 Our common objective is to build a strong and independent institution that will deal effectively with corruption, which is a major challenge that confronts our democracy and our nation. Recent developments have raised issues, related to the functioning of our Parliamentary democracy, that concern all of us.  I, therefore, thought it appropriate to convene this meeting to brief you on these developments and seek your guidance on the way forward.”

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JAN LOKPAL BILL : Prime Minister writes to Shri Anna Hazare

Manmohan Singh, current prime minister of India.

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The Prime Minister has written to Shri Anna Hazare on the Lokpal issue. The text of the letter is as follows:

Over the last few days, I have watched with increasing concern the state of your health. Despite the differences between the Government and your team, I do not think that anybody is or should be in any doubt about the deep and abiding concern which I and our Government share about your health, arising from your continuing fast. I have no hesitation in saying that we need your views and actions in the service of the nation, from a robust physical condition and not in the context of frail or failing health.

I have maintained that your and our object is identical viz. to reduce significantly, if not eliminate, the scourge of corruption from this country. At worst, our paths and methodologies may differ, though I do believe that even those differences have been exaggerated. The Government is committed to passing a constitutionally valid and the best possible Lok Pal legislation with inputs from Civil Society with the broadest possible consensus. We are ready to talk to anybody. However, we will have to keep in mind Parliamentary supremacy and constitutional obligations in matters of legislation. As a Government we respect and are responsible to the Will of the Indian People as represented by Parliament.

As you are aware, the Lok Pal bill is now before a Standing Committee of Parliament. I have made it clear earlier and would like to restate that all options are open before the Standing Committee. Undoubtedly, they would be entitled to consider, in detail and clause by clause, subject to their discretion, not only the Bill introduced by us but the Jan Lokpal Bill and other versions like those prepared by Ms. Aruna Roy. Equally, I do maintain that they are fully entitled to make any changes to the Bill introduced by the Govt. and referred to them. In that view of the matter, the formal non introduction of the Jan Lokpal Bill version by the government is irrelevant and would largely boil down to a semantic debate.

Nevertheless, in view of the concern repeatedly expressed by your team that the Jan Lokpal Bill version should be before Parliament, but more particularly and more importantly, in view of my deep and abiding concern for your health, our government is prepared to request the Speaker, Lok Sabha to formally refer the Jan Lokpal Bill also to the Standing Committee for their holistic consideration along with everything else. Furthermore, if you have any anxieties about time and speed, the Government can formally request the Standing Committee to try, subject to its discretion and the necessity to reflect deeply and spend adequate time on an important Bill, and fast track their deliberations to the extent reasonably feasible.

I would like to say that this letter and each suggestion herein is actuated solely by the twin considerations of deep and genuine concern about your health and the emergence of a strong and effective Lok Pal Act in accordance with established constitutional precept and practice.

I do hope that you will consider my suggestions and end your fast to regain full health and vitality.

Meeting of Consultative Committee on Law & Justice Discussions on E-Courts, Justice Delivery System, Law Commission Report

The Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting of Ministry of Law and Justice was held under the chairmanship of Shri M Veerappa Moily, Minister for Law and Justice on 16 May 2011 in New Delhi.  The meeting was attended by Members of Parliament (MPs) as Members of the Consultative Committee.  The officials from Ministry of Law and Justice and NIC attended the meeting.

The Chairman and Minister for Law and Justice apprised the Members of the Committee on Action Taken Report of the last meeting held on 6 December 2010:

  • A status on setting up of family courts in the States was informed.
  • Regional Consultations were held on Electoral Reforms in Bhopal, Kolkata, Mumbai, Lucknow, Chandigarh and Bangalore jointly with the Election Commission of India.  During these meetings, 13th Finance Commission Recommendations were also discussed with the Chief Justices of High Courts.
  • Implementation of 13th Finance Commission recommendations and utilization of grants was discussed in a State Level Conference on 5th May, 2011 with Law/Home Secretaries, Finance Secretaries and Registrar Generals of the High Courts.  15 States have formulated State Litigation Policy and sent a copy to Department of Justice which is under examination.

The other major issues discussed at he meeting pertained to the E-Court Project, improving justice delivery – steps to reduce pendency, implementation of reports of Law Commission of India and Rajiv Gandhi Advocate’s Training Scheme.

 E-Court Project – The scheme of computerization of district and subordinate courts in the country and for upgradation of ICT infrastructure of the higher courts was approved at a cost of Rs.441.8 crore in February 2007 revised in September 2010 at a cost of Rs. 935 crore due to increase in number of court complexes and courts, expansion of scope and additional items and increase in rates of products and services.  Phase I of the Project is planned to be implemented in 12000 courts till 31st March, 2012 and remaining 2249 courts till 31st March, 2014.  The following points were raised by the  Members during discussion:

 (i)                 States should be given a freedom to modify the software applications for the courts.

(ii)               Software for the e-court project should take care of regional languages for subordinate courts .

(iii)              At district and taluka level for providing power backups for hardware and other installations an option for solar energy may also be considered.

(iv)             Training modules for judges and their staff and familiarizing advocates may be provided for within the scheme.

(v)               Open source software should be used instead of propriety software as it requires lot of investment in future.  In this regard, a specific direction should be issued to the implementing agency.

(vi)             The procurement of software and hardware should be decentralized without compromising the quality.

(vii)           Close coordination with the State Governments be done.

(viii)         Technical manpower provided for the purpose should be of good quality.

 Improving justice delivery – steps to reducing pendency

The members felt that:

(i)   Petty cases should be disposed off through morning/evening courts/shift courts and Lok Adalats.

(ii)   Reform measures should be taken up with regard to Appointment of Judges and Judicial Standards and Accountability.

(iii)  A balance should be maintained while reducing the pendency that there should be no compromise on quality of judgments.  A study would be useful to study this correlation.  Department of Justice will take up this study.

Implementation of Law Commission Reports

 Members were assured that Pending recommendations of Law Commission will be considered in the Department of Law and action will be taken expeditiously.

 Rajiv Gandhi Advocate’s Training Scheme

 Members were informed that Rs. 50 lakh have been allocated to National Law University for imparting the training.  The first batch training will take place in the month of June-July, 2011.

 Members present at the meeting were  Members of Parliament Shri Manish Tiwari, Shri shadilal batra, Shri M B Rajesh, Shri P Rajeeve and Shri Gopal Vyas.