Women’s Charter

Bill No. 126/1961

Read the first time on 22nd February 1961.
An Ordinance 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 maintenance of wives and children and the punishment of offences against women and girls; and to provide for matters incidental thereto.
Be it enacted by the Yang di-Pertuan Negara with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Singapore, as follows: —
Short title and commencement
1.  This Ordinance may be cited as the Women’s Charter, 1961, and shall come into operation on such date as the Yang di-Pertuan Negara may by notification in the Gazette appoint.
2.  In this Ordinance unless the context otherwise requires —
“brothel” means any place occupied or used by any two 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 two or more persons for any purpose or object;
“Conciliation Officer” means a Conciliation Officer appointed under section 46 of this Ordinance;
“Deputy Registrar” means a Deputy Registrar of Marriages appointed under section 25 of this Ordinance;
“Director” means the Director of Social Welfare, and includes an Assistant Director of Social Welfare;
“minor” means a person who is under the age of twenty-one 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 have access;
“place of safety” means any place of safety established under the provisions of section 162 of this Ordinance;
“Po Leung Kuk Fund” means the moneys and securities originally administered by the Po Leung Kuk Society established under rules made by the Governor in Council on the 8th day of March, 1905, and includes the moneys and securities kept in banks under the name of the Po Leung Kuk Fund;
“prostitution” means the act of a female offering her body for promiscuous sexual intercourse for hire, whether in money or in kind;
“register of marriages” includes the State Marriage Register and any local marriage register kept or made under this Ordinance;
“Registrar” means the Registrar of Marriages appointed under section 25 of this Ordinance and includes an Assistant Registrar of Marriages;
3.—(1)  Subject to the provisions of subsection (2) of this section this Ordinance shall apply to all persons resident in Singapore and shall also apply to all persons domiciled in Singapore who are resident outside Singapore.
(2)  Parts II to VI and Part IX of this Ordinance 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 the Federation of Malaya providing for the registration of Muslim marriages.
(3)  No marriage one of the parties to which is a Muslim shall be solemnized or registered under this Ordinance.
(4)  For the purposes of this Ordinance, a person who is a citizen of Singapore shall be deemed, until the contrary is proved, to be domiciled in Singapore.