What is being perceived as a tactical move to pacify the growing demand by khaps, Haryana Congress Rajya Sabha member Shadi Lal Batra has given a notice to move an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, prohibiting tsame-gotra and same-village marriages.
Batra belongs to Rohtak and is a confidant of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda. He gave the notice seeking permission to introduce the “Hindu Marriage Act (Amendment) Bill, 2010” to the Rajya Sabha secretariat yesterday.
The notice said he should be given leave to introduce the Bill during the 220th session of the Rajya Sabha, which concluded today. Now the Bill would be taken up during the next session, if Batra is allowed by the House to do so. A copy of the Bill submitted to the Rajya Sabha secretariat proposes that the following should be inserted in Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act after sub-clause (5): “That the parties (to a marriage) are not sapindas of each other, belonging to the same gotra/parivara and residing in the same village.”
In the “statement of objects and reasons” attached by Batra, a lawyer by profession, he says that “social fabric and mutual ties are so strong in rural areas that its violation is not swallowed. “Age-old customs and tradition is that the entire village is considered a unit and its young folk as brothers and sisters. his cultural commitment has gone a long way in ensuring dignity and safety of womanhood in day-to-day activities at their place of work and residence.
“Vedic literature and the seers prohibited marriages in the same gotra or parivara. Further, custom and age-long tradition prohibited marriages in the same village and in the same gotra and sapindas of each other. “In the recent past some unscrupulous youths started violating the customs and values of society by nuptial ties, prohibited otherwise.
This has caused a stir in society and a mass movement to condemn such illegal relationship has started. It is, therefore, high time that the Hindu Marriage Act be amended to specifically include barring marriages in the same gotra and parivara, and residing in the same village.” It is no secret that major political parties in the state, the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), do not want to annoy the khaps for fear of losing Jat votes.
The INLD put the ball in the Congress court when its president Om Prakash Chautala announced that his party would support the government if it brought an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act to prohibit same-gotra marriages.
If the Congress failed to do so, his party would move the amendment on its own, he declared. The Congress leaders are reluctant to associate their party with any move that is certain to invite critricism by liberal sections of society. By making one of its MPs to move the amendment as a “private member’s Bill”, the party has avoided just that. The khaps have threatened to gherao the Kaithal residence of Congress MP Naveen Jindal on May 10 for his alleged failure to support their demand.