House panel endorses Reforms in Social Conduct bill

Published On: March 27, 2017 12:40 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

-150 maximum in janti procession
-501 invitees ceiling in marriage ceremony
-Dowry tradition banned 
-60 gram gold from groom's side and 40 gram from bride's side allowed

KATHMANDU, March 27: Setting limits to ostentation during  social functions such as weddings, a parliamentary panel has endorsed the Bill Related to Reforms in Social Conduct to replace a 40-year-old law which had become irrelevant. 

Endorsing the bill, which had long been shelved, on Sunday, the State Affairs Committee (SAC) of  parliament has proposed that a maximum of 501 individuals can be invited to a marriage party and 251 to other social functions. The government had registered the bill in  parliament nearly three years ago, to replace an older law, but it was shelved after various stakeholders pressed the parliamentary panel to make revisions so that it would be  relevant and implementable. 

Revising the government's proposal, which had mentioned a maximum of 350  invitees to a marriage function, the parliamentary panel  increased the maximum number  allowed. 

If the bill is endorsed by a meeting of the full House, only 150 Janti procession participants  from the groom's side will be allowed. According to Sections 10 and 11 of the bill, violation of the ceiling can incurr a fine of up to Rs 50,000. 

The bill has also proposed regulating other aspects of a wedding, including the giving of dowry and gifts. The bill has proposed banning any kind of dowry  and stated that any breach of the provision will be punishable by up to three months in jail and a fine  equal the amount to the dowry. However, the groom's party  can gift ornaments of up to 60 grams in gold and the bride's side up to 40 grams.

Likewise, both sides can gift up to 10 grams in  gold ornament at the engagement ceremony, at which the marriage is announced and a date fixed. At the engagement function, the groom can invite a maximum of 51 individuals and the bride's side can invite 35. 

According to the bill, a maximum 251 individuals can be invited to other social functions other than religious ones. Breaching of this ceiling will be punishable by a fine of up to Rs 25,000.

The bill will make it mandatory to submit details of the wedding expenditure at the local-level ward office within 35 days. Anyone not submitting the details can be fined up to Rs 10,000. 

Likewise, the bill states that a social function shouldn't disturb neighbors with noise or in other ways.

This provision is expected to end the practice of obstructing road traffic  during wedding processions.

The bill proposes that violators of this rule should be fined up to Rs 25,000. 

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