This is an article by one of my friends. People like him make this world a good place to stay. This is a must read article. We must remember there are many people like Amer Nadeem in this world.
By : Amer Nadeem - Advocate high Court
It was the year of 2001 A.D, Hindu lady Mst. Guddi Mai filed a suit for maintenance for her three minor children and herself against her husband, in the family court. She contended that her marriage was contracted about ten years back with her husband according to the rites of Hindu religion; both the husband and the wife were professing the Hindu religion.
Out of the marriage three children were born. After a period of about eight years, differences started between the husband and the wife. The husband forced Guddi Mai along with her three minors to leave her husband’s home. Since two years, as per version of the lady, her husband had not cared for the wife and children, and she and her kids were residing with her parents. Further more the lady and three minors had not paid a single penny for the last two years, to carry on their bread and butter.Being aggrieved of the situation, Guddi Mai filed a suit for maintenance against her husband in the court of family judge. After court formalities the husband was summoned by the judge to contest the case.
The husband appeared before the court and seeked time to file the reply. On the next date of hearing, the husband/defendant submitted his written statement against the suit. That was havoc for the lady and her minor kids. The husband straight away denied the husband ship of the lady and parentage of the kids. One can understand the ordeal and catastrophic state of affairs of the lady and minors.The attorney of Guddi Mai demanded proof of her marriage, as it was controversy of the case. She was in hot waters, because there was no registration/documentation of Hindu marriages in Pakistan.She was to prove her nuptial and legitimacy of her kids through circumstantial evidence. She had no documents or conclusive proof for her matrimonial relationship with her husband. One would be justified to blame the husband for denunciation of matrimonial relationship with Guddi Mai and her children. But at the same time the legal system must be under consideration.
The Pakistani Hindus are four millions plus in population, as per the last national census. The Hindu minority is spreading throughout the Pakistan, in all four provinces. Pakistan is a Muslim populated country, the major community consists of about ninety eight percent of the total population. Out of the two percent minorities Hindus are tangible. The community is as patriot as the others are. The Pakistani Hindus are inhabitants of the land since hundred years. On the inception of Pakistan, thousands of Hindus decided to migrate India, where as a visible portion of the community retained themselves in the newly born country. They got citizenship of the country and became Pakistanis.
In Pakistan almost all the religious communities have their respective marriages registration rules and certificate of marriages for married couples, except Hindu community. For Muslims, in the year of 1961-62 laws and rules were framed to register the Muslim marriages. According to these regulations a Muslim marriage is registered with an officially appointed person, which is called “Nikah-Khawan” in vernacular language. The official is duly appointed by the government, with a license to issue certificate of marriage that is “Nikah-Naama”. The certificate is a recognized deed with presumption that the marriage is consummated and performed legally, in accordance with law. The document is acceptable to all government and private departments. The courts of the land are also bound to give presumption of truth to the certificate of the marriage, meaning there by, that the persons are legally husband and wife. Same is the case with Pakistani Christians, Parsis, Sikhs and other minorities.
Why not Pakistani Hindus? The Question is substantial.The constitution of Pakistan provides ample protection and safeguards to the religious minorities without any discrimination.The article 25 of the Constitution makes it sure that all citizens are equal before law and entitled to equal protection of law. Article 20 of the Constitution guarantees that every citizen of Pakistan shall have rights and freedom to profess religion and to manage religious rites and institution without any discrimination. Furthermore, Article 30 of the Constitution safeguards the legitimate rights and interests of the minorities. Similarly a number of clauses, articles and provisions of various laws of Pakistan enshrine the principles of equality and justice for all the citizens. The Pakistani Hindu couples face lots of problems due to non availability of their certificate of marriages. The couples are without legal entity and proof of their spouse ship. Their marriages are without legal authentication. The acknowledgement of their matrimonial relationship is at the sweet will of concerned authorities or departments in Pakistan, whether the officials recognize them as husband and wife or otherwise. The scenario is due to not having of the certificate of marriage. It amounts to discrimination and injustice with a minority, which is not essence of the law.In daily life the Hindu couples, especially wives are used to face severe problems.
For example, in Pakistan for the preparation of necessary documents like National Identity Card, Domicile, Passports and other documents the marital status of the applicant is mandatory. Questions and required answers like; whether one is married or bachelor? If married, the name of spouse? Proof of marriage? Any certificate of marriage? Identity of the spouse with documents?-----are always problematic for the Hindu married applicants. At the moment the couples are helpless, at the mercy and grace of those officials. Here the couples may be refused or graced to be awarded with the document. The non availability of the marriage certificate, sometime, begets corruption syndrome.It has been observed in many cases that one of the spouses, often husband, refuses to recognize the other partner as his/her better half, as in above stated Guddi Mai case. Even in a number of cases the parentage ship of the children were denied by the father. In this situation the lady wife is in predicament to prove her wife ship or/and parentage ship of her minor children, as she has no document, at all, to prove her version. Likewise during travelling on their way, on public places, hotels & motels, especially on police checking, the Hindu couples are in miserable position to prove them to be the husband and wife. Because on a number of occasions the proof of husband and wife is mandatory requirement. At the moment, the couple is in embarrassing and awkward position.
Likewise in civil, family and criminal matters in the society, law enforcement agencies and courts, the Hindu couples faces a lot of problems on account of non-registration of their marriages and being without a valid certificate of marriages. In the way rights of the couple are vulnerable and at stake. On the issue of non registration of Hindu marriages, a campaign has been launched in Pakistan. Some individuals and non government organizations have raised the demand to the government of Pakistan to make rules for the registration of Hindu marriages. In this regard, public at large, political parties, individual activists and civil society is requested to join hands in this campaign to weed out the injustice and inequality, in the form of non registration of Hindu marriages in Pakistan.
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Amer Nadeem Advocate High Court
Ex-General Secretary District Bar Association