We have seen immense interest in recent days on the
legality of "Cyber Marriage".
Already opinions have been expressed by eminent
lawyers on the issue. The substance of the views is that since "Saptapadi"
is the essence of the Hindu Marriage and therefore a Cyber marriage is
not feasible, the existence of the "Registered Marriage" concept opens
up other possibilities.
Though the importance of the Saptapadi is based on
the court judgement, I consider that this reflects the north Indian
custom and does not reflect the south Indian custom. Perhaps tieing of
the Mangala Sutra is considered the more defining moment of a
Hindu Marriage in South India. This may require some debate.
Readers may be interested to note that a complaint
was filed some time back in Chennai Cyber Crime Police Station by a
person stating that the lady whom he married on the Internet has been
kept away from him by the family and Police should take action on the
same. The person claimed that they married on a Chat room on the
Internet. However since the case could not be substantiated with any
documentary evidence, it has not been pursued with.
It was even more interesting that the person wanted
Naavi to be the "Cyber Purohit" and certify the event under Cyber
Evidence Archival Center. (ceac4india.com). Obviously it could not be
done since the event did not happen in the presence of Naavi and under
conditions that would be required to certify a Cyber Event. Otherwise it
would have perhaps been an interesting assignment.
According to the undersigned, if a marriage is
possible by a "Written Contract", Cyber Marriage is also possible.
If the Registrar of Marriages is willing, it is possible to create a
digital marriage registration system.
But it is not so much about the legality of such a
marriage as much as the desirability that we should debate.
If for some reason, Section 1(4) of ITA-2000
does not exclude marriage contracts and therefore we can interpret that
marriage by cyber contract/registration may be feasible, it is
the view of the undersigned that it may be recommended that
ITA-2000 is amended to notify that "Any Contract of Marriage" is outside
the scope of ITA-2000. Perhaps this may be considered straight away
since an amendment of ITA-2000 is being processed.
I request viewers to send their views in this regard
for onward transmission to Ministry of Communications and Information
and Technology. Interested persons may send their views on "Should
Section 1(4) be amended to include 'Any Contract of Marriage'
as an exclusion from ITA-2000."
May 1, 2005
Cyber Matrimony..Praveen Dalal