Women’s Charter

(Original Enactment: Ordinance 18 of 1961)

(30th May 1997)
An Act to provide for monogamous marriages and for the solemnization and registration of such marriages; to amend and consolidate the law relating to divorce, the rights and duties of married persons, the protection of family, the maintenance of wives and children and the punishment of offences against women and girls; and to provide for matters incidental thereto.
[15th September 1961]
Short title
1.  This Act may be cited as the Women’s Charter.
2.  In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —
“brothel” means any place occupied or used by any 2 or more women or girls whether at the same time or at different times for the purpose of prostitution;
“club” means any place which is used by an association of 2 or more persons for any purpose or object;
“Conciliation Officer” means a Conciliation Officer appointed under section 48;
“Deputy Registrar” means a Deputy Registrar of Marriages appointed under section 26;
“Director” means the Director of Social Welfare and includes an Assistant Director of Social Welfare;
“married woman” means a woman validly married under any law, religion, custom or usage;
“minor” means a person who is below the age of 21 years and who is not married or a widower or widow;
“occupier” of a place means the tenant, sub-tenant or lessee thereof or any person in charge of the place whether or not he is in actual occupation and whether he has or has not powers to let or sub-let;
“owner” of a place means a person who, for the time being, has power or authority to let, hire, sell or convey the place to another person, or who receives the rent of the place whether on his own account or as an agent or trustee for any other person;
“place” means any building, house, office, flat, room or cubicle or any part thereof, and any open or enclosed space and includes a ship, boat or any vessel, whether afloat or not, and any vehicle;
“place of assignation” means any place where communication is established with any woman or girl, either directly or through an intermediary, for any immoral purpose;
“place of public resort” means any place to which the public for the time being has access;
“place of safety” means any place of safety established under section 177;
“prostitution” means the act of a female offering her body for promiscuous sexual intercourse for hire, whether in money or in kind;
[51/2007 wef 01/02/2008]
“register of marriages” means the State Marriage Register kept under this Act;
“Registrar” means the Registrar of Marriages appointed under section 26 and includes an Assistant Registrar of Marriages;
“solemnization”, with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, includes the contracting of a marriage or effecting a marriage in accordance with the law, religion, custom or usage of the parties or any of the parties thereto.
[9/67; 14/69; 30/96]
3.—(1)  Except as otherwise provided, this Act shall apply to all persons in Singapore and shall also apply to all persons domiciled in Singapore.
(2)  Parts II to VI and Part X and sections 181 and 182 shall not apply to any person who is married under, or to any marriage solemnized or registered under, the provisions of the Muslim law or of any written law in Singapore or in Malaysia providing for the registration of Muslim marriages.
(3)  Notwithstanding subsection (2), sections 4, 5 and 6 shall apply to any person who contracts or purports to contract any such marriage during the subsistence of a marriage registered or deemed to be registered under the provisions of this Act or which was contracted under a law providing that or in contemplation of which the marriage is monogamous.
(4)  No marriage between persons who are Muslims shall be solemnized or registered under this Act.
(5)  For the purposes of this Act, a person who is a citizen of Singapore shall be deemed, until the contrary is proved, to be domiciled in Singapore.