The High Court Division in a landmark verdict on Sunday directed the government to abolish the mandatory provision of disclosing in the marriage registration form whether or not the bride is ‘virgin’.
In the verdict, a bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Khizir Ahmed Choudhury also directed the government to create the option to write that the bride is ‘unmarried’.
The verdict directed the government to make it obligatory for the bridegrooms to declare his marital status in the marriage registration form.
In the observation, the court called it ‘humiliating and degrading’ to require the bride to declare that she was virgin.
The bench said that the citizen’s right to privacy enshrined in the Constitution ‘has been infringed’ by the requirement.
The court said that all the citizens are equal before, therefore, it was discriminatory to require only the brides to disclose whether or not they were virgins.
The court said that the impugned marriage registration provision facilitate the grooms to hide the information whether or not they were married or divorcees.
The verdict was delivered after disposing of a public interest litigation writ petition.
On September 7, 2004, the PIL writ petition was jointly filed by the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Nari Pakkha and Bangladesh Mahila Parishad challenging the discriminatory treatment of brides and grooms in the government’s marriage registration form.
Supreme Court lawyer ZI Khan Panna appeared for the petitioners.
He submitted that the marriage registration form of the pre-independence era remained unchanged emergence of Bangladesh as a free country.
As an amici curaie Belayet Hossain submitted that the provision being discriminatory to brides violated the Muslim Law and the Constitution.
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