Rajasthan govt recalls marriage registration law amid uproar over child marriage clause

By: |
October 12, 2021 9:55 AM

The move comes amid the opposition BJP objecting to a provision in the Bill that allowed registration of marriage even if the bride and the groom had not attained the legal age to tie the knot. 

The move comes amid the opposition BJP objecting to a provision in the Bill that allowed registration of marriage even if the bride and the groom had not attained the legal age to tie the knot. 

Facing criticism from the Opposition, the Rajasthan government has decided to recall the recently passed marriage registration bill to recall it with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announcing that the law will be reviewed amid concerns that it will promote child marriages.

“There has been a controversy in the country that this law will encourage child marriage. We decided that it was not a question of our prestige. We will request the governor to return the bill we have passed,” Gehlot said addressing a programme on International Girl Child Day.

Gehlot said that the state government will urge the governor to return the bill for legal consultations. “After legal consultation from lawyers, it will be considered whether to take the Bill forward or not,” he said.

Gehlot said that it is the government’s resolve that child marriages do not occur at any cost in Rajasthan. “I want to assure you that I will not compromise on that. We will get it re-examined and if we consider it necessary then we will take it forward or else we will not take it forward. We have no problem,” the chief minister said.

The move comes amid the opposition BJP and rights activists objecting to a provision in the ‘Rajasthan Compulsory Marriage Registration (Amendment) Bill 2021’ that allowed registration of marriage even if the bride and the groom had not attained the legal age to tie the knot.

Gehlot said that the Supreme Court had made it necessary to register every marriage after which the Bill was introduced and passed. He said that legal opinion was taken earlier and the government will take it further also so that child marriages never happen in Rajasthan.

“The Supreme Court stated that marriage should be registered, be it of anyone. In view of this, a bill was passed in the assembly, but a controversy erupted that this law will encourage child marriage,” he said.

The Bill was passed in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly on September 17 amid objections from opposition BJP MLAs who walked out of the assembly. State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal had said in the Assembly that the proposed legislation allows registration of marriages but does not state anywhere that these marriages will eventually become valid.

If it is indeed a child marriage, the collector of the particular district and the officers concerned will be able to take necessary action against the families, the minister had pointed out.

The statement and objective of the amendment bill say that if the couple has not completed the legal age of marriage, the parents or guardians shall be responsible for submitting a memorandum within a prescribed period. Dhariwal said even the couple can get their marriage registered, provided that they inform their families within 30 days.

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