ANAND MARRIAGE ACT was passed in 1909 by the Imperial (i. e. Governor-General's) Legislative Council to establish legal "validity of the marriage ceremony common among the Sikhs called Anand. " The origins of marriage by Anand ceremony go back to early Sikhism. The practice which somewhat lapsed during the time of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh was sought to be revived as part of the religious reform initiated by the Niraṅkārī movement and followed up especially by the Siṅgh Sabhā. Anand marriages were readily reported in the Sikh Press towards the close of the 19th century. For instance, the Khālsā Akhbār in its issue of 6 November 1886 reported the marriage of Bhāī Dalīp Siṅgh, son of Bhāī Raṇ Siṅgh of village Koṇḍī in the princely state of Paṭiālā by Anand ceremony. The same newspaper announced on 11 December 1886 Anand nuptials of Giān Siṅgh, son of Sūbahdār-Major Baghel Siṅgh, which took place at the village of Jaipurā. Again on 18 February 1888, the Khālsā Akhbār reported the marriage of the daughter of Bhāī Sant Siṅgh, president, Siṅgh Sabhā, Lahore, performed in accordance with the Sikh ritual on 14 February 1888. At Siālkoṭ, an early Anand marriage of modern times took place on 4 June 1903 (Khālsā Akhbār, l0 July 1903). Bhāī Mohan Siṅgh Vaid in his Diary recorded that he attended Anand Kāraj - performed at the village of Kairoṅ on 7 June 1899. Presumably that was when Bhāī Nihāl Siṅgh Kairoṅ's daughter, sister of Partāp Siṅgh Kairoṅ, mighty latter-day political leader of the Punjab, was married. Early references to Anand marriages occur in old Sikh texts such as Rahitnāmā Bhāī Dayā Siṅgh and Giānī Giān Siṅgh, Panth Prakāsh.
The Anand ceremony was looked upon askance by Brāhmaṇical priests who administered the rites in the old Hindu fashion. They started caluminating the Sikh form. Sikhs wished to have their social laws accepted and codified and a beginning was made with their marriage rites.
The Anand Marriage Bill was introduced in the Imperial Legislative Council in 1908 by Ṭikkā Ripudaman Siṅgh of the princely state of Nābhā. The House of Nābhā had always espoused simplification of wedding ceremonies and, as reported in Khālsā Dharam Prachārak, 13 July 1895, there was an order in force in Nābhā state laying down that no marriage party should exceed 11 guests. The Anand Marriage Bill had been drafted by a committee of the Chief Khālsā Dīwān. The Imperial Council referred the bill to a select committee. The bill received overwhelming support from the Sikh respondents. In 1909 Sundar Siṅgh Majīṭhīā replaced Ṭikkā Ripudaman Siṅgh of Nābhā state as a member of the Imperial Council. Moving the bill at a meeting of the Imperial Legislative Council held at the Viceregal Lodge, Shimlā, on Friday, 10 September 1909, Sundar Siṅgh Majīṭhīā commended the effort of Ṭikkā Ripudaman Siṅgh who had "laboured unremittingly" in behalf of the "useful measure. " Elaborating, Sundar Siṅgh said the ceremony called Anand was initiated by the third Gurū of the Sikhs, Gurū Amar Dās (1479-1574), and his successor Gurū Rām Dās (1534-1581) was the author of the four hymns of Lāvāṅ which are included in the Gurū Granth Sāhib (Rāga Sūhī, pp. 773-74) and which are recited to solemnize the Anand ceremony.
Sardār Sundar Siṅgh presented the report of the select committee. The bill was placed on the Statute Book on 22 October 1909.
The text of the Act reads :
The Anand Marriage Act 1909, Act No. VII of 1909. An Act to remove doubts as to the validity of the marriage ceremony among the Sikhs called 'Anand'.
|1.||Short title and extent||The Act may be called the Anand Marriage Act 1909.|
|2.||Validity of Anand Marriages||All marriages which may be or may have been duly solemnized according to the Sikh marriage ceremony called 'Anand' shall be and shall be deemed to have been with effect from the date of solemnization to each respectively, good and valid in law.|
|3.||Exemption of certain marriages from Act :||Nothing in this Act shall apply to (a) any marriage between persons not professing the Sikh religion or (b) any marriage which has been judicially declared to be null and void.|
|4.||Saving of marriage solemnized according to other ceremony||Nothing in this Act shall affect the validity of any marriage duly solemnized according to any other marriage ceremony customary among the Sikhs.|
|5.||Non-validation of marriages||Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to validate any marriage between persons who are related to each other in any degree of consanguinity or affinity which would, according to the customary law of Sikhs, render a marriage between them illegal.|
K. S. Talwār