In a move to address the issue of extravagant wedding expenses and the social pressures associated with ostentatious celebrations, Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) Jasbir Singh Gill introduced a Private Member’s Bill on Friday titled the ‘Prevention of Wasteful Expenditure on Special Occasions Bill’. The proposed legislation aims to bring about positive changes in the lives of underprivileged individuals and combat the disturbing practice of female foeticide in India.
The bill seeks to address the lavishness often displayed in Indian weddings, especially the ‘big fat Indian weddings’ that are synonymous with displaying wealth and social status. At times, the immense worth attached to these celebrations puts substantial financial and emotional strain on families, particularly on the bride’s side. In a bid to meet societal expectations, families often dip into their savings, take loans, or even sell assets, leading them into a spiral of debt.
Furthermore, the pressure of dowry adds to the wedding woes. Despite being outlawed in India, the practice of dowry persists in certain regions and communities, placing an unjust burden on the brides’ families. Dowry, a payment that includes property or money, is expected to be given to the groom or his family during the marriage ceremony. This social practice not only perpetuates financial hardships but also contributes to issues like female foeticide, as daughters are considered burdens by some families.
The proposed bill aims to tackle these issues by placing limitations on various aspects of weddings. It suggests capping the number of guests or ‘baraatis’ arriving at the bride’s place to only 100 persons and restricting the number of dishes served to 10. Additionally, the bill proposes to limit gifts or auspicious offerings on the occasion to a maximum of ₹2,500.
The introduction of this Private Member’s Bill is not the first attempt to address the issue of extravagant weddings and the display of wealth. Similar bills have been presented in the past, with the intention of curbing the “show of wealth” during wedding celebrations.
Private Members Bills provide an opportunity for elected representatives in the Lok Sabha, who are not ministers, to introduce legislation on matters of public interest and legislative importance. By proposing this bill, MP Jasbir Singh Gill aims to initiate discussions and deliberations on the societal impact of extravagant weddings and ways to alleviate the financial burden on families.
If passed, the ‘Prevention of Wasteful Expenditure on Special Occasions Bill’ could usher in a positive change, promoting more modest and meaningful celebrations while contributing to the fight against female foeticide and other societal issues linked to excessive wedding expenses.
Sources By Agencies