Disclosure of marriage register at Church sought under RTI
An applicant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act referring to Section 63 of the Indian Christian Marriage Act (ICMA) 1872 and sought details of the marriage register book. He asked for the details of all the marriages that were solemnized by the church between 1975 and 1985. The information was denied by Father Tony, the parish priest of Catholic Church in Mariampura at Petlad in Anand district holding that the marriage-register-book does not come under the purview of the RTI Act.
The RTI applicant, who happens to be a Christian, has argued that under ICMA 1872, the priest is the registrar of marriage and hence, is governed by the same Act. Therefore, information generated regarding the solemnizing and registration of marriages should be pro-actively disclosed under Section 4 of the RTI Act. Further, he has threatened to move court after he was denied access to the marriage register book.
The Section 63 of ICMA 1872 states: "Every person licensed under this Act to grant certificates of marriages, and keeping a marriage-register-book under Section 62 shall, at all reasonable times, allow search to be made in such book, and shall, on payment of the proper fee, give a copy, certified under his hand, of any entry therein."
There has been a spate of RTI applications involving the religious bodies. The Madras High Court had recently ruled that the temples are covered under the RTI Act. http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/madras-hc-temples-are-covered-under-rti-act-1842