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Church leaders against Mizo marriage law

Representational image

Aizawl: Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC), conglomerate of leaders of major church denominations in Mizoram, has expressed strong objection to the recent recommendation of the state law commission aimed at legalising marriage without church or religious wedding.

The State Law Commission had on Friday (August 4) recommended that once a bride’s price is paid in accordance with the Mizo custom by the groom’s family and accepted by the bride’s family, the couple should be accepted as legally married.  

MKHC chairman Rev Dr C Chawnghmingliana said, “The MKHC takes a serious view of the State Law Commission’s recommendation and strongly opposed implementation of the proposal.”

Chawnghmingliana, who is also moderator of the Presbyterian Church of India’s Mizoram Synod, said that they have made an appeal to state Chief Minister not to accept the recommendations.

The MKHC leaders, at the invitation of Zoramthanga, met the Chief Minister on Wednesday and discussed several issues concerning Mizoram and the people during which the church leaders raised the issue of Mizo marriage under the customary law.

The state Law Commission, in a meeting chaired by its chairman Lala Khobung on Friday has recommended several amendments to the ‘Mizo Marriage, Divorce and Inheritance of Property Act, 2014 which included the proposal for acceptance of a couple’s marriage after ceremony of the payment of the bride’s price or ‘man leh mual’ in Mizo language is customarily completed.

“The solemnisation of a marriage in the church will still be undertaken by the couple. But we proposed that the marriage becomes legal even before the church wedding ceremony of the price of the bride ceremony is done in accordance with the customary law,” the recommendation said. 

Marriage among the Mizos is called ‘Mizo Kristian Inneih Dan’ or ‘Mizo Christian Marriage, a mixture of customary marriage as solemnisation of customary marriage is inevitably followed by religious wedding in the church.

For years, those who get married according to the customary way are regarded as living in sin if they stay together before solemnisation of the marriage in a Christian wedding in the church, by the church as well as the society dominated by Christian religion.

A number of civil societies in the state including the Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) or women’s association, expressed the wish that once a marriage is consummated as per the customary law, it should be made legal even before the church wedding when the nuptial knot is religiously tied before a priest or a pastor. 

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