Central Information Commission: The appellant filed the RTI application seeking information about action taken on Delhi (Compulsory Registration of Marriage) Executive Order No. F. 1(12)/DC/MC/2014 dated 21.4.2014 regarding appointment of additional marriage officers in compliance with directions given by in Seema v. Ashwani Kumar, (2005) 4 SCC 443. For this, CPIO informed that the matter was being processed and was pending with concerned higher officers. The first appeal before FAA was also dissatisfactory and therefore, the appellant filed second appeal before the Commission under Section 19(3) of the Act.
As per the executive order, the government of NCT of Delhi may appoint additional marriage officers for the purpose of registration of marriage and may also delegate the power of marriage officers to any retired gazette officers appointed for this purpose. Appellant wanted to know if the order had been complied with or not emphasizing that requisition of Aadhar Card as a compulsory document was causing hardships to couples in getting their marriage registered. Along with this, he cited the judgment Justice K. S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, (2015) 10 SCC 92, in which it was stated that no person should suffer for the lack of an Aadhar card despite the fact that a government authority had issued a circular making it mandatory to submit the Aadhar card to avail of certain facilities. He also placed on record letter dated 24.3.2015 addressed by SDM-HQ-II to all Deputy Commissioners of Revenue Department of government of NCT of Delhi specifying that strict compliance of orders of Supreme Court in this regard was to be observed and any administrative instruction in violation of the order of Supreme Court will have no validity.
He also informed the Commission that in spite of the orders, procedures for registering solemnization of marriage under Special Marriage Act makes Aadhar card a mandatory document for generating receipt for 30 days notice as options for other identity card is not available while applying online. The Commission observed that women who are victims of bigamous relationships and inheritance related property disputes face enormous hardship in establishing their marriage as it will be difficult to prove ceremonies of marriage and the wives are losing cases by the only reason of not able to prove their marriage for it is not registered.
It emphasized that compulsory registration of marriages would help tackle various women’s rights infringements such as child marriage, ensuring a minimum age, marriage without the consent, bigamous unions, besides a woman’s right to live in her marital home and receive maintenance stating that as it is compulsory to register marriage, the government should make a convenient and well manned infrastructure to facilitate the registration of all the marriages by appointing additional marriage officers and also that it should be the duty of government that all facilities are extended to make marriage registration a less cumbersome procedure.
The Commission also recommended that in pursuance to the landmark judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court which ruled that Aadhar card is not necessary for availing government scheme; the public authority and government should give widespread publicity through various media that Aadhar is not mandatory for the purpose of marriage registration scheme and also make necessary changes for online application for solemnisation of marriage under Special Marriage Act. [Asif Iqbal v. PIO, 2016 SCC OnLine CIC 11301, decided on 1-4-2016]