Apr 102012
Sinhachwar village in Garhwar area of Ballia

A gay couple who got married and had their marriage registered in Ballia last month have fled from their home, scared of landing in a jail as their marriage has been found to have been registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, in which there is not place for such unions.
While Chunmun Kumar and Simran say that they had told the registry officials about their gender, officials say that they had submitted two affidavits, describing one as man and the other as woman.

Chunmun, a resident of Sinhachwar village in Garhwar area of Ballia, has been working with Simran, a male dancer, for more than eight years in various marriage parties in eastern Uttar Pradesh. They have also been living together. Simran, earlier called Simaan Singh, was born in Bareilly and has been living in Ballia for eight years. They decided to get married last month.

“We went to Ballia civil court and met a lawyer, who took Rs 3,000 and asked us to come back after a day,” Chunmun said. He said when they reached the registry officer, the officer called his name for identification and he replied yes; then the officer confirmed Simran’s name and he also said yes. They got the marriage certificate and went back to Garhwar.

The marriage was registered on March 29. He said, “Why would we get our marriage registered if we wanted to keep our relation secret? I had told the lawyers that we were both men.”

Chunmun said the people of Garhwar are saying that they will have to go to jail for giving false information and, therefore, he and Simran left house on Monday. He said that his parents have accepted Simran after initial opposition.

Ballia Sub Registrar Subhash Chandra Mishra said the affidavits described Simran as woman. Mishra said Simran had come to his office wearing a sari, looking like a woman, and submitted affidavits, wedding invitation card, village pradhan’s letter stating that both were living like a couple. So he registered the marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act. Two lawyers of Ballia civil court signed as witnesses. The lawyers could not be contacted despite several attempts. The letter of village pradhan has the name of Rama Devi, but the real name of the village pradhan is Vidyavati Devi and she denied having issued any letter for the marriage.

Mishra said that only a marriage between a man and woman can be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, but he will not lodge a complaint as he had no proof of their gender.


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