Anand Karaj is the Sikh marriage ceremony, meaning, ‘blissful union’ or ‘joyful union of Sikh male and Sikh female’. It was introduced by Guru Amar Das.
It was originally legalized in India through the passage of Anand Marrige Act, 1909 ,but is now governed by Sikh Reht Maryada that was issued by Shiromani Gurudwaara Prabandhan Committee( SGPC).
NEED FOR THE ANAND MARRIAGE ACT
For over a hundred years, Sikhs were made to register their marriages under tha Hindu Marrige Act, 1955 as the Anand Marriage Act (for Sikhs) initiated during the British era of 1909, has not been implemented. This was a great trouble for members of the Sikh community, especially, for those who moved abroad, as while they were identified as ‘Sikh’, their marriages were registered as ‘Hindu’.
EMERGENCE OF THE ACT
- Passed by the British Imperial Legislative Council in 1909.
- It was to establish the legal validity of the marriage ceremony among the Sikhs called ANAND KARAJ.
- In 2012, the Anand Marriage (Amendment) Bill was passed in the parliament during the tenure of Manmohan led UPA – government.
- The bill received the then president Pratibha Patil’s assent also.
IMPORTANT FEATURES OF THE ACT
- Both the partners must be Sikh.
- Marriage is a partnership of equals.
- No consideration is to be given to caste, social status, race or lineage,
- No dowry is allowed.
- No day is considered holier above than other, hence, no astrological considerations are to be made and no superstitions are to be observed in fixing the date of wedding.
- The religious ceremony is to take place in a gurudwaara only.
CURRENT STATUS OF THE ACT
A 109- year old demand of Sikhs has finally been met by the Government of Delhi.
On January 17, 2018 , Delhi revenue minister Kailash Gahlot reported that the framing of provisions under the Anand Marriage Act was in final stage and would be notified soon.
Therefore, Sikh marriages will be registered under the Anand Marriage Act in the national capital. Delhi is the 1st state in the country to implement the Anand Marriage Act for registration of Sikh marriages.
PAKISTAN TO REGULATE SIKH MARRIAGE
Pakistan’s most populous province of Punjab created history on March 14, 2018 by passing the Punjab Sikhs Anand Karaj Marriages Act, 2018. The law was unanimously passed by the assembly.
The bill will come into force after approval by the provincial governer of Pakistan. Every Sikh Marriage that took place before the bill came into force will also gain legal status.