LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly on Thursday passed the law governing marriage functions, disallowing unreasonable illumination, display of fireworks and dowry and causing nuisance to neighbours “beyond reasonable celebrations”.

The law (Clause 3) says that a person celebrating his (own) or organising marriage of any other person shall not decorate or cause to be decorated any street, road, or public park or any place other than the building where marriage ceremony is being held, with lights or illumination.

The law bars such a person from exploding or allowing anyone to explode cracker or other explosive device, including firing by firearms, and displaying or allowing anyone to display fireworks.

Similarly, it disallows display of dowry to the public eye and causing nuisance or disturbance to the neighbourhood beyond reasonable celebrations.

Clause 4 of the law prohibits serving of more than one dish meal to guests in a marriage ceremony at any public place. The next clause bans managers of hotels, restaurants, caterers from serving more than one dish in a marriage ceremony.

The law also asked all those owning, managing or running a public place being the site of a marriage to ensure conclusion of all ceremonies relating to the marriage on or before 10pm.

The government may by notification in the official gazette, constitute one or more committees for the enforcement of the provisions of the act.

It warns that violations of the provisions 3, 4, 5 or 6 may be punished with simple imprisonment for a term up to one month and fine which shall not be less than Rs50,000 or more than Rs2 million.

An offence under this act shall be bailable and cognizable on a complaint by an officer notified by the government, while a first-class magistrate is authorised to summarily try an offence under this law.

Apparently to check misuse of authority, it binds police to accompany the officer notified by the government, while entering a public place where marriage is being held for taking cognizance of an offence under this act on the complaint of notified officer.

The food and other edibles procured, prepared, arranged or set for serving to the extent of contravention of this act shall be fortified and disposed of in such a manner as may be prescribed, says the law.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2016

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