Rajasthan decides to recall controversial Marriage Registration Bill amid concern over child marriage

Rajasthan government has decided to recall the recently passed marriage registration bill to re-examine it. The step has been taken amid the concerns that it will encourage child marriages in the state.

Created On: Oct 12, 2021 11:57 IST
Ashok Gehlot
Ashok Gehlot

The Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot said on October 11, 2021, that the state government has decided to recall the recently passed marriage registration bill to re-examine it. The step has been taken amid the concerns that it will encourage child marriages in the state.

Chief Minister Gehlot said that the Rajasthan Government will urge the governor to return the bill for legal consultations.

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

While addressing a programme on International Girl Child Day, Gehlot said, “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.”

He further added that only after the legal consultations from the lawyers, it will be considered whether to take the bill forward or not.

No Child Marriages in Rajasthan at any cost: CM Gehlot

The Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot assured that it’s the state government’s resolve that child marriages do not occur at any cost in Rajasthan.

Despite the ban on child marriages in the state, Rajasthan has been reporting such cases over the years. CM Gehlot said that the Supreme Court had made it necessary to register every marriage after which the bill was introduced and passed.

The Supreme Court had stated that the marriage should be registered, be it of anyone. In view of this, the bill was passed in the assembly, however, the controversy erupted that this law will encourage child marriage in the state.

Rajasthan Compulsory Marriage Registration (Amendment) Bill 2021: Background

The bill amending the 2009 Act (Rajasthan Compulsory Marriage Registration Act) was passed in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly on September 17, 2021, amid objections from opposition BJP MLAs who walked out of the assembly.

Shanti Dhariwal, the State Parliamentary Affairs Minister, had said in the state assembly that the proposed legislation allows the registration of marriages but does not state anywhere that these marriages will eventually become valid.

The Minister further pointed out that if it is indeed a child marriage, the collector of the particular district and the officers concerned will be allowed to take action against the families.

The Statement and Objective of the amendment bill said that if the couple has not completed the legal age of marriage, the parents or the guardians shall be responsible for submitting a memorandum within a prescribed period.

Dhariwal also said that even the couple can get their marriage registered, given that they inform their families within 30 days.

What does the bill state?

The Rajasthan Compulsory Marriage Registration (Amendment) Bill 2021 provides for mandatory registration of marriages, including child marriages.

The passed bill mandates the information on marriages including child marriages to be furnished by their parents or the guardians within the 30 days of the marriage.

The bill proposes the amendment of Section 8 of the 2009 Act (Rajasthan Compulsory Marriage Registration Act), which states that the duty of parties to the marriage is to submit a memorandum for marriage registration to the Registrar under whose jurisdiction the marriage was solemnized.

The 2009 Act also states the same, however, the age mentioned is 21 years for both boys and girls. As per the new amendment, if the bride and groom are underage, the groom is below 21 years and the bride is below 18 years, their parents will have to register the marriage in the given amount of time.

The controversial bill is seen to validate/legitimize child marriages by asking parents to register marriages between underage children.

 

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