Church Weddings in Mizoram are now legal

AIZAWL: – Did you know that in Mizoram church marriages really weren’t legal or binding? All that’s changed now.

Mizoram Law Minister Lalsawta today said the newly-enacted Mizo Marriage, Divorce and Inheritance of Property Act, 2014 will soon be in force in the State and will be notified within a few days.

In a meeting held with the Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC), a conglomerate of leaders of 14 major churches in the State, Lalsawta said after this meeting, the issue of notification will be sped up. He said the Act automatically gave official recognition to all church priests who were earlier authorised to issue marriage licences as licensed officers.

Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) or Mizo Women’s Federation and All Mizo Women Federation (AMWF) hailed the new legislation which they said would drastically decrease divorce rate and number of broken families.

With the enactment of the Mizo Marriage Divorce and Inheritance of Property Act, 2014, recently by the Mizoram state assembly, Mizo marriages solemnised by pastors will now have legal standings and enforceable in the court of law.

State law minister Lalsawta convened an informal meeting with leaders Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitu (church leaders) Committee and Mizoram Journalists’ Association where he explained the new law that nullifies the Mizo Christian Dan under which marriages had been solemnised for more than a century.

‘Marriage certificates issued by different churches to the newly-weds will have to be slightly modified. The clause ‘In accordance with the Mizo Marriage Divorce and Inheritance of Property Act, 2014’ or ‘See Section 7 of the Mizoram Divorce and Inheritance of Property Act, 2014’ will have to be included in all the marriage certificates,” Lalsawta told the church leaders.

Pastors or other church ministers who are authorised by the churches to solemnise marriage will be accepted as marriage officer, he said, adding that, “the only difference is that it will now be a marriage accepted by the church and the court.”

The newly-wed couples will have to register with the concerned marriage registrar, within 30 days from the day of marriage, he said.

The government will issue a notification to this effect within a short while, he said.

The Indian Christian Marriage Act (ICMA) 1872 is not applicable in Mizoram, Manipur and other adjoining hill areas and the marriages amongst the tribals of these places are solemnised according to the native Christian customs by pastors appointed.

In Mizoram, despite calls by many women activists, for imposition of the ICMA in Mizoram, it could not be implemented. The state comes under Article 371G of the Constitution, which provides that any Act of Parliament would be inapplicable unless the state legislature vets it.

In point of law, therefore, the tribal Christian marriage as practiced in Mizoram has no legal standing and is not enforceable in the court of law, it only has a moral value.

Lalsawta had blamed the fragile nature of marriage in Mizo society as the main reason for this divorces and abandonment of children.

Many children are dumped in their grandmothers’ arms or orphanages as the biological parents get on with their lives.

The new law clearly gives a woman the right to file for divorce on any ground, be it adultery, conversion to another religion, incompatibility, cruelty or desertion among other reasons.

‘All the causes recognised under the Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872 or any other marriage act that is in force in the country have also been taken into account while drafting the Mizo Marriage Divorce and Inheritance of Property Act, 2014’,” he said.

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Posted by on December 18, 2014. Filed under Breaking News,Mizoram,NORTH EAST. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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