To curb cases of weddings being conducted discretely, flouting Covid-19 lockdown regulations, few district administrations in Madhya Pradesh have decided to declare these marriages null and void. The couples will also not be issued marriage certificates.
The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led state government had banned weddings in May in the wake of rapid spread of Covid-19 cases, but marriages continued to take place. In less than a month, at least 30 people were booked, a home department official told the Hindustan Times.
The marriage registrar offices have been order by the District Magistrates to not issue any certificate for these couples who tied the knot during the period when weddings were banned, or face action. Officials will be booked under section 188 for “disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)”, the DMs’ orders say.
At least 130 marriage ceremonies were reportedly conducted ‘secretly’, violating the lockdown norms set by the government.
On Wednesday, the district collector of Ujjain, Ashish Singh, told media that weddings were held secretly in the absence of any provision of punishment.
“In the absence of any provision of punishment, people are conducting marriages secretly. Now, all the marriages, which were conducted secretly, will be declared illegal. Action will be taken against the couple, family members and even priests,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, Gwalior collector KV Singh told the HT, “The decision was taken after 20% of villagers in Dabra were infected in a marriage. The motive was not to create trouble for people but to contain the spread,” he added.
The Madhya Pradesh government has begun unlocking restrictions in various districts as Covid-19 infections are showing a consistent fall.
After consultations with district administrations, the zilla crisis committee decided to ease Covid-19 rules in five districts: Jhabua, Alirajpur, Burhanpur, Bhind and Khandwa.
Based on the feedback from these places, a decision will be taken for other districts in the state after June 1, sources had told News18.
The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government had on May 18 extended the ‘corona curfew’ in all 52 districts of the state for different durations. In the industrial hub of Indore, it is in force till May 29 night.