Tamil Nadu: Circular Slips Parental Consent in Marriage Registration
Several people have raised alarm about a circular from the Inspector General of Registration’s office, in Tamil Nadu. As this four-point internal circular, released in September last year has created a need for parental consent in marriage registration. It has provided a checklist of documents, which the couple would need to produce in order to register their marriage. Among these is original identification documents of parents, to verify name, initials and address provided by the couple.
So, in coming months, are we going to see a decline in marriage registrations in Tamil Nadu, or an increase in theft of IDs of uncooperative parents?
The circular permits use of Aadhaar Card as an additional proof for the couple, witnesses and parents. Secondly, it says that names, initials and address of parents given in the application should tally with details contained in the accompanying documentary proof. The registration will be done only after verification of this information. Also, if any of the parents are mentioned as deceased, then the couple have to produce the original death certificate and attach a photocopy.
While this circular comes across as harmless and cautious on the surface, it is the second point which raises a barrier for couples who are marrying against their families’ wishes. Either this is a gross oversite of the office, or a deliberate hindrance.
Several caste outfits have been asking for parental consent during registration of marriages in recently.
Advocate Sudha Ramalingam calls these requirements “extraneous and totally unnecessary”. She says, “The law does not contemplate any consent except that of the marrying couple. Witnesses are attesting as witness to registration and not as consenters. The circular appears trivial on the face of it but is fatal for a couple wanting to marry without parental consent.”
Most parents and families in India still adhere to traditional beliefs, especially in matters of marriage.
Many times it’s not even the matter of faith, but who gets to make the choice. Parents often refuse to accept marital alliances of their children, simply because the union stems from love. Numerous aspects like social standing, economic background, qualifications, faith, etc come to play, when matrimonial alliances are set in India. There are more reasons to stop an alliance in our country, than to accept it.
Thus, in such circumstances, young consenting adults take matters in their own hands, and marry despite opposition from their families. Requisites like original identity proofs of parents, only add to the struggles of such couples. It makes it almost impossible for two consenting adults to register their marriages, without keeping their parents in loop. In a country riddled with biases so deep, we need laws and governing bodies to stand by young couples and help them. The youth of this country has to face several hindrances in the name of love in our country. Getting a marriage registration should certainly not be one of them.
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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.