In an effort to curb instances of underage marriage, priests at the Chitai Golu Devta temple in Almora in Uttarakhand have decided to make it mandatory for anyone wanting to get married there to have an Aadhaar card.
According to a report in the Times of India, the temple priests will now insist on seeing the bride and groom's Aadhaar card before conducting the wedding.
"Since we organise a large number of marriages at the temple, it is very difficult sometimes to verify the name and address of the couple," Hari Vinod Pant, a temple committee member told TOI. "Many couples come from outside the state to get married here and it is not possible to verify whether they meet the minimum age requirement for marriage. There have been instances when couples who came to the temple were found to be underage and it turned out that they had eloped to get married. There have also been cases of Nepalese underage girls coming here to get married. So the temple committee took the decision of checking Aadhaar cards before agreeing to conduct the wedding."
About 400 marriages take place at the Chitai Golu Devta temple in a year, including four to five per day during the wedding season.
Temple officials will only accept Aadhaar cards for age verification and not any other identity card. "Aadhar card has a great deal of composite information such as name, age, father's name, address and is a trustworthy identity proof. That is why, we have decided that couples should bring their Aadhaar cards along with them," Pant said.
He added that if a prospective bride or groom doesn't have an Aadhaar card, her or his marriage can be solemnised only if she or he is personally known to a temple committee member who can vouch for their age eligibility.
Also on HuffPost India.