President Mamnoon Hussain on Sunday promulgated the Hindu Marriage bill into law, Radio Pakistan reported. The Act will protect Hindu marriages and family rights.

The president signed the bill on the advice of the prime minister.

The legislation prohibits the marriage of minors and prescribes a minimum age of 18-years for contracting marriage in addition to protecting the customs and customary rites of the Hindu community.

It also introduces the concept of judicial separation. Moreover, the legitimacy of children born out of void and voidable Hindu marriages has also been protected under the bill.

Hindu women will also be now able to get documentary proof of their marriage.

Earlier this month, the National Assembly had passed the Hindu Marriage Bill 2016, after amendments made by the Senate, to regulate marriages of Hindus in Pakistan.

The bill was tabled before the house by Minister of Human Rights Kamran Michael.

Michael said the Ministry of Human Rights took the initiative to protect the rights of minorities in the country after obtaining a no objection certificate from the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

The senator added that it was a constitutional obligation to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities.

“There was no law to regulate the registration of Hindu marriages and ancillary matters thereto,” said Michael.

He added the government was committed to protect and promote human rights, including the rights of women and minorities.

The legislation was finalised after numerous consultations with the relevant ministries and representatives of the Hindu community.

The Ministry of Human Rights, which worked for three years on the bill, also obtained resolutions from the provincial governments in order to ensure the law is applicable across the country.

The law will be applicable in the provinces of Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Sindh had introduced its own version of the Hindu marriage law earlier.