Moreover, number of divorce relating death cases relating to polygamy or bigamy exposes the cruel reality of the institution of marriage. The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 has prescribed for the registration of Hindu marriages, but the same has not been made compulsory rather discretionary on the part of the State Government to make rules for the said purpose. However, marriages under the Special Marriage Act of 1954 are automatically got registered by the marriage officers. Among Christians, marriages are registered in the marriage register of the Church (under the Indian Christian Marriages Act of 1872) soon after the ceremony along with the signatures of the bride, groom, the officiating priest and witnesses.
Even the registration of marriages is made mandatory under the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936. Similarly, in Muslim marriages, the qazi records the terms of the marriage in a nikahnama and hands it over to the married couple. Thus, we see that except under Hindu Personal Law, all personal laws have made registration of marriages compulsory. Compulsory registration of marriages is necessary as to give a legal sanctity to the marriage, where a Government certificate is issued to the married couple, which is undoubtedly a valuable piece of evidence of marriage. By virtue of this legal document unscrupulous husbands cannot be able to escape liability of maintenance to their wives, whom they do not consider to be their ones. In bigamous relationships, women are the primary victims at the hands of their husbands.
There are umpteen cases when wives have lost their case because of their inability to prove their first or second marriage of their husbands. Further, the registration of marriage will also ensure to curb the menace of child marriage with these objectives in mind, the Compulsory Registration of Marriage Bill, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in 2006, but it could not be culminated into becoming a law. Even in 1994, the National Commission for Women vociferously advocated for the enactment of a uniform law relating to marriages through the Marriage Bill, so that the evil of child marriages and polygamy would be curbed. It had also recommended for bringing in the Act on compulsory registration of marriage. All these endeavors and wide consultations and deliberations proved futile.
It is high time for the Parliament to go for enacting the Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act. This will definitely ensure to curtail the abuses and harassment against women. Further, the people, judiciary, the NGOs, the police, Lawyers and National Commission for Women should go hand in hand to bring out the much coveted and awaited law.