Stating that the “Guest Control” order on curbing expenses in marriages is for the society’s welfare, the J&K government on Monday sought people’s feedback to make necessary changes in it.
“The Guest Control Order is not a gospel truth which cannot be changed. It is in an evolutionary phase,” Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Choudhary Zulfkar Ali said here and sought feedback from people to make “necessary changes” in it.
“If suggestions seem genuine, they would surely be incorporated in the order to make it better,” he assured.
The Minister said people have to understand that ‘Guest Control Order’ is an initiative taken for their welfare, and making its implementation a success would help to make a better society.
Shrinking the big fat Kashmiri wedding and other opulent functions, the state government had recently issued the “Guest Control Order” to impose curbs on expenses, the guest list and dishes to be served on such occasions. It had also put a ban on the use of amplifiers, loudspeakers and firecrackers at such events in the state. The order will be implemented from April 1.
Under criticism from civil society and some political organizations over the said order, Ali said the government has no intention to interfere in someone’s religious belief and it is for the welfare of everyone from Hindu to Muslim to Sikh or Christian.
BJP’s state unit chief Sat Pal Sharma (MLA) had said: “The decision is interference in the religious affairs of the Hindus and it should not be implemented hastily.”
The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party had stated that the rule defied all logic and rationale and was a “violation of fundamental rights.”
Speaking at an interactive session with representatives of various civil societies, the Minister said people from all quarters have been complaining about the menace of extravagant expenditure on social functions, especially marriage ceremonies.
He said there were many instances when some people have come to him to seek some financial assistance to organise the marriage functions.
“Concept of marriage is to bring joy in the family, not to give sleepless nights to the parents,” he said.
“Due to societal compulsions, majority of the families are forced to exhaust all their savings only to follow the trend set by some affluent,” he said, adding: “The Guest Control is a respite for the majority population who suffer in the race to match the elites.”
The Minister assured that the order by no means would facilitate or support 'Inspector Raj'
He said people need to introspect themselves for whose rights are getting trampled when loud music is played late in night and a patient in next house is not able to get the much needed rest.
The minister questioned who would secure the future of a student when “we do not let him concentrate on his studies by playing loud music and cracking loud crackers.”
Seeking support from the civil society, Zulfkar Ali said: "We all have to work together to weed out evils from the society” and asked the leaders of the civil societies to make a conscious effort to raise awareness among masses.
He said those who try to oppose the government order would be dealt by the law accordingly.
Responding to the demand by various civil society leaders to decrease the guest number, the Minister acknowledged that he is well aware that the number was quite large.
According to the 'Guest Control Order', the number of guests to be invited on the marriage of daughter including ‘baraat’ should be restricted to a maximum of 500 and on that of son, it should not exceed 400. The Minister said the order was finalised so that the interests of everyone from catering business to banquet hall owners are taken care of.
However, he said, to fix the system "a step at a time needs to be taken...Rushing to correct everything in one go would only harm instead of doing any good."
Earlier, during an interactive session with representatives of Chamber of Traders Federation to discuss the ‘Guest Control order’, an official spokesman quoted the Minister as saying that this order would surely help the people make judicious use of essential commodities and exuberant expenditures during public and private functions. “This order is for the betterment of the society and now majority of the people of the State will give an excuse to shy away from going for a big extravaganza,” the Minister said.
The representatives, the spokesman said, said any exchange of dry fruits/sweets in the range of Rs 500 should be banned instead of sweet which leave a healthy message with the invitees. They added that Supreme Court order in respect of noise pollution and timing for use of firecrackers beyond 125-decibel is already in force which should be specified in the departmental order.
“Expressing satisfaction over maximum number of guests 500 for a daughter’s marriage and 400 for son’s marriage, they said that nowadays joint receptions are taking place and by going this order that totals to 900 guests. They added that 700 guests instead of 900 are sufficient and in smaller functions like Satsang, Sant, Shagun, Ring Ceremony 150 guests may be permitted,” an official spokesman said.
They also proposed that in Jammu region, mostly vegetarian dishes are served during marriage ceremonies, Therefore Instead of maximum of 7 vegetarian and 7 non vegetarian dishes, around 10 veg dishes and 4 non-veg dishes should provide a fair spice to the function along with 2 stalls of deserts,” the spokesman said.
The Minister said the Government’s responsibility is to make the laws and rules, but not to go out and stand behind everyone to make them follow the same. He said people understand that laws and rules are meant for their betterment and not abiding them attracts penalties of certain types. PTI/GKNN