Registration of marriages provides records helping the government to plan for appropriate number and type of medication and health cadres for its population.
“No matter how many marriages have succeeded in the country, they are not legally acceptable unless and until they are lawfully recorded in registration forms,” says Ramesh Pokhrel, Nayab Subba, District Administration Office, Lalitpur.
18-year-old Kavita shared, “I was married at the age of 16 and I did not know about marriage registration till now.” Similarly, a resident at Lagankhel, Shobha KC said, “Although I have registered my marriage, I do not know the advantages of doing so.” “It is evitable for people of the country to be unknown about the importance of marriage registration since the awareness campaign organized in VDC level was not effective because the political and social leaders did not take it seriously”, says Dr. Khem Bahadur Karki, Executive Director SOLID Nepal, “Political leaders are the ones who are stationed at the higher level and have the power to make decisions and bring positive changes in the process. They should march forward to make this a national agenda.”
Pokhrel informed, “‘Vital Registration Act-2033’ was installed in 2034 and was successfully administered in 2047 B.S in all 75 districts of the country i.e. 3,915 VDCs and 58 Metropolitan cities. The marriages unrecorded after 2044 B.S. is not legally considered as marriage because a marriage is not considered unless it is recorded. But before this, it was the responsibility of the nation to inform the denizens about the importance of marriage registration in an effective manner.” Similarly, Sunil Lamsal, Kharidaar at Panjirakan Shakha, District Development committee, Lalitpur says, “Marriage is registered in VDC and district level but people register their marriage only when documents like the ones required for applying for abroad are made mandatory. On the other hand, people tend increase their age to meet the age bar and due to this, the country does not have the actual record of married couples under 20.”
According to the ‘Report of Vital Registration-2064-66’ published by Ministry of Local Development, the registration of vital events, 2066, has decreased in comparison to that of 2063. Only 60 out of 75 districts have reportedly submitted the records. The rest 9 districts that did not submit the report are Mahottari, Kavre, Manang, Lamjung, Myagdi, Parbat, Rukum, Salyan, Phythan, Dolpa, Mugu, Jumla, achham, Bajhang, Baitadi and Dadeldura. The report has defined the total of 1, 44, 992 as recorded under marriage registration. The record of vital events has been found to be minimum in ‘Far Western Region’ with 7.1 % whereas the record in Eastern development region is as high as 31.4 %. Similarly, according to the geographical division, Himalayan region has 3.5%, hilly region has 37.8 % and Terai region has 58.7 %. Among all the vital registrations, 74 % has the records of birth and death.
“Intimacy is what makes a marriage, not a ceremony, not a piece of paper from the state” – Novelist Katherine Norris. The difference between the marriage and love lies on two sides of a fulcrum. More the love between a couple, stronger the knot of their marriage is. These are two different aspects of life. The society has made marriage as a social institution and license to have sexual intercourse. Whether married or not, law has defined the right age at marriage so as to improve the sexual and reproductive health of people. Our society pressurizes a couple to bear a child as soon as they get married regardless of the development in their physical and mental state. The negative consequences like cervical cancer, STIs, are evitable among young married couples. Law is not composed in thin air but rather is imposed by the government for the betterment of the citizenry. Marriage Registration helps the country to make strategies for married couples. Marriage Registration, a component among five of the vital registrations is equally important as other four registration components (birth, divorce, migration and death). Marriage registration is important as it records the population of married couples through which a country plans for providing them with measures of family planning, medicines, vaccination and allocate number of health workers needed for mother and child. Migration registration helps in the management of human resources of the country. Death registration helps in finding out the cause of death and assists to search for the remedy. As a whole, marriage registration is the gateway to all the registrations and is connected with the planning of a family.
It is not only the common people’s fault but the marriage registration is also not implemented effectively by the concerned authority. The registration department at District Development Office had less documented field in the registration form. Answering to the reason, Sunil Lamsal replied, “There is a provision of submitting the record by VDC to DDC within 7 days of a month but we receive the record after the deadline and we are compelled to leave the space empty. As a result, the record is filled in the following month. Additionally, an individual registering their marriage should make further enquiry if such document has been recorded properly or not. Government officials are not solely responsible for its untimely dispatch. The country has now installed e-government but all of them are not well managed through networks. If such a network is managed properly, then this situation can be improved.”
In a nutshell, it is the responsibility of social leaders, political representatives, local community members, stakeholders and beneficiary and government officials to make this a national agenda in together and utilize the provision provided by the law to take utmost advantages from it. Developed countries regularized such registrations three centuries ago. If such basic issues are not under smooth administration, then how can the nation walk towards ‘New Nepal’?