Special Correspondent

SHRC wants Marriage Officers appointed soon to implement law

HYDERABAD: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has asked the State Government to appoint Marriage Officers within a month so as to immediately implement `The AP Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act, 2002'. The Act envisages compulsory registration of every marriage in the legal age group.

The commission passed the orders two days ago alarmed over the menace of child marriages which peak at this time of the year when Sivaratri was celebrated. It felt that the problem could be checked effectively only if the legislation came into force but unfortunately there was no implementing agency.

SHRC Chairman Justice B. Subhashan Reddy told reporters that it was recommended to the Government to appoint a Registrar-General of Marriages at the State-level, District Registrar of Marriages and sub-ordinate marriage authorities in the local bodies. To save the State exchequer, the SHRC suggested that officers of the Registration Department handling registers of births and deaths could be delegated the powers.

He expected child marriages to be rooted out in due course as violation of the Act attracted criminal prosecution. The legislation was lost sight of until the SHRC recently examined a petition of victims of child marriages submitted to him at a meeting in the city.

A hearing was conducted to go into the merits of the petition. It came to light during the proceedings that the marriages were performed on a major scale at Srikalahasti in Chittoor during Sivaratri celebrations. A separate hearing was held at Srikalahasti on Friday when the problem was confirmed.

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