02/06/2016 7:42 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

Centre Asks Matrimonial Sites To Verify Users With Valid IDs

An elderly man sits on a bench next to an advertisement for a matrimonial website at a bus-stop in Mumbai on February 9, 2012. Marriage -- or 'shaadi' in Hindi -- remains a cornerstone of society in conservative India, with hundreds of matchmaking sites concentrating on finding their members suitable life partners rather than casual dates. Arranged marriages are largely still the norm and dating is often frowned upon, but matrimonial websites have become big business in the past decade. Would-be brides and grooms can be selected by age, caste, religion, language or where they live. AFP PHOTO/Indranil MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

In a move to check misuse of matrimonial websites, the Centre has decided to make it mandatory for the sites to authenticate users with valid identity and address proofs, lest these sites become dating platforms.

IT and Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday has approved an advisory on functioning of the matrimonial websites, which will give details about the set of rules they need to follow to check abuse on their platforms, official sources said.

"Matrimonial websites are intermediary under section 2 of Information Technology Act and they are mandated to follow IT Act," a source said.

As per the advisory, matrimonial websites will need to confirm the "user's intent to enter in to matrimonial alliance" and "confirm that the user information is correct to the best his or her knowledge" when they register to join the platform.

With this advisory coming in place, users of matrimonial websites will be required to submit or upload true copies of supporting documents such as proof of identity and address for the purpose of user verification.

"It is advisable that matrimonial websites should provide a list of legally verifiable document which shall serve proof of identity," the advisory said.

The users will also require to confirm their intent for using the platform, it said.

The new advisory clearly bars websites to disguise dating platform as matrimonial websites.

The advisory also said that "service providers should make a declaration that website is strictly for matrimonial purpose only and not a dating website and should not be used for posting obscene material."

The government has advised that matrimonial websites should caution users against possible fraudsters and encourage users to report any fraudulent activity on the website.

It said that users need to verify credentials of the statements that matrimonial websites do not authenticate about any profile unless specifically stated.

Matrimonial websites under new rules will be required to name grievances redressal officer on their portals.

Besides, the new rule mandates "matrimonial websites should store IP address of profile creator for one year from the date of activation," it said.

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