Nuptial bliss is some time away

by Salil Deshpande, DNA India, February 16, 2008

Mumbai, India -- The Buddhist community in Mumbai may have to wait a while before they can legally get married the Buddhist way.

For years, neo-Buddhist couples had to grapple with a moral dilemma. They could choose to marry as per Buddhist rites, and forego the hope of getting a legal sanction to the marriage, or, they could marry as per the rites prescribed by Hinduism.

This quandary arose from fact that Buddhist marriages were governed by the Hindu Marriage Act, which made no allowances for neo-Buddhist rituals.

Children born out of the former type of marriages, by implication, became 'illegitimate' and their mothers were concubines.

However, the budget session of Maharashtra's state assembly may see a Buddhist Marriage Bill being tabled, something that will bring cheer to lakhs of neo-Buddhists in the state.

“The government was asked by the court to make a law to cover Buddhist marriages. The law commission gave its recommendations, but nothing happened beyond that,” says Nitin Raut, an MLA from Nagpur, who is pushing for a separate Buddhist Marriage Act.

“I finally met chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who has agreed to introduce a bill to the effect in the forthcoming budget session of the assembly,” says Raut.

Lawyers, however, caution that it's not going to be as easy as it sounds. As per the Constitution of India, Buddhists are, simply put, considered Hindus for all legal purposes.

By implication, the lawmakers will have to pass a notification and ensure a statutory amendment if something like the proposed Buddhist Marriage Act has to stand.
The Buddhist Channel - Donate to Support Our Work

An Appeal

In deep gratitude for your support! We are half way to meeting our target (US$ 10,400 of US$ 18,000 already achieved)!

The Buddhist Channel is a dedicated group of "mindful communication practitioners" striving to make a positive impact on the Buddhist community. We deeply believe in the power of mindful journalism and are reaching out to you with a heartfelt request for your support. Your donation, no matter the size, can make a tangible difference in the lives of countless Buddhist monastics, local communities and other dedicated engaged workers. With your help, we make their stories known, and thereby opening up avenues for them to obtain sustainable support for their work.

Please indicate whether your support will be a donation or a loan. We will get back to you via email. We thank you in advance for providing us financial relieve. May the Buddha Dharma ever be your guide and protector.

Note: To date, we have received the following:

US$ 900 from Esa Myllykoski (donation)
US$ 9,500 from Lance Edwards/Kau Soo Kin (loan)

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: