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Rajasthan: New marriage registration bill legitimises child marriage?

The bill states that if a groom is not 21 years and the bride is not 18 years old, their parents or guardians can register the marriage

Sabrangindia 20 Sep 2021

RajasthanRepresentation Image
 

The Ashok Gehlot government has passed a bill to amend the Marriage Act of 2009 (Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act), that allegedly allows child marriages. The bill has been challenged before the Supreme Court by journalist Swati Goel and Sanjeev Sanskrit demanding its quashing.

This 2021 bill lays down that a marriage between a groom who has not completed 21 years, and a bride who has not completed 18 years of age could be registered by the “parents or guardians” within 30 days of the marriage.

The amendment to section 8 of the 2009 Act reads, “The parties to the marriage, or in case the bridegroom has not completed the age of twenty one years and/or bride has not completed the age of eighteen years, the parents or, as the case may be, guardian of the parties shall be responsible to submit the memorandum, in such manner, as may be prescribed, within a period of thirty days from the date of solemnization of the marriage to the Registrar within whose jurisdiction the marriage is solemnized, or the parties to the marriage or either of them are residing for at least thirty days before the date of submission of the memorandum.”

Significantly, the 2009 Act made the registration of child marriage mandatory, with the only difference being, under the proposed amendment bill, if a girl is 18 or above the age of 18, it would be her duty to submit the memorandum of her marriage, while as of now, it is the duty of her parents to do so.

Going by the 2009 act, the parents or guardians of both parties (bride and groom) were supposed to submit the memorandum for registration if they had not completed the age of 21. The amendment bill allows the differentiation of age, where the 18-year-old (and above) bride will be allowed to register her marriage if this becomes the new law.

Reacting on the issue, Parliamentary Affairs minister, Shanti Dhariwal, has told the media that the bill does not say anything about legalising child marriages. He was quoted by the IE saying, “Even if a marriage among underage children is held, its registration is mandatory. However, the Bill doesn’t make the marriage legal and the District Collector can take action against them.”

However, the opposition has refused to accept this argument and also staged a walk out on September 18. Gulab Chand Kataria, leader of Opposition, alleged that the legislation violated the law against child marriages. He told the media, “I think this law is completely wrong. The legislators who have passed it have not seen it. Section 8 of the Bill violates the present law in force against child marriages,” he said.

The apex child rights body, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), has also agreed to examine the new bill “to protect the interest of children”.

 

 

The bill has also added a provision that enables a widow, widower, or their children, parents or kin in case both have died, to register their marriage within thirty days of the death. Dhariwal reportedly said that in absence of a marriage certificate, a widow is often deprived of access to various schemes.

The 2021 bill also empowers the government to appoint Additional District Marriage Registration Officer (DMRO) and Block MRO to register marriages.

The amendment bill may be read here:

 

Related:

No data on increase in child abuse cases due to Covid-19 lockdown: Centre

Child Marriages—Especially Of Girls—Rise in Urban India, Decline In Rural

Rajasthan: New marriage registration bill legitimises child marriage?

The bill states that if a groom is not 21 years and the bride is not 18 years old, their parents or guardians can register the marriage

RajasthanRepresentation Image
 

The Ashok Gehlot government has passed a bill to amend the Marriage Act of 2009 (Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act), that allegedly allows child marriages. The bill has been challenged before the Supreme Court by journalist Swati Goel and Sanjeev Sanskrit demanding its quashing.

This 2021 bill lays down that a marriage between a groom who has not completed 21 years, and a bride who has not completed 18 years of age could be registered by the “parents or guardians” within 30 days of the marriage.

The amendment to section 8 of the 2009 Act reads, “The parties to the marriage, or in case the bridegroom has not completed the age of twenty one years and/or bride has not completed the age of eighteen years, the parents or, as the case may be, guardian of the parties shall be responsible to submit the memorandum, in such manner, as may be prescribed, within a period of thirty days from the date of solemnization of the marriage to the Registrar within whose jurisdiction the marriage is solemnized, or the parties to the marriage or either of them are residing for at least thirty days before the date of submission of the memorandum.”

Significantly, the 2009 Act made the registration of child marriage mandatory, with the only difference being, under the proposed amendment bill, if a girl is 18 or above the age of 18, it would be her duty to submit the memorandum of her marriage, while as of now, it is the duty of her parents to do so.

Going by the 2009 act, the parents or guardians of both parties (bride and groom) were supposed to submit the memorandum for registration if they had not completed the age of 21. The amendment bill allows the differentiation of age, where the 18-year-old (and above) bride will be allowed to register her marriage if this becomes the new law.

Reacting on the issue, Parliamentary Affairs minister, Shanti Dhariwal, has told the media that the bill does not say anything about legalising child marriages. He was quoted by the IE saying, “Even if a marriage among underage children is held, its registration is mandatory. However, the Bill doesn’t make the marriage legal and the District Collector can take action against them.”

However, the opposition has refused to accept this argument and also staged a walk out on September 18. Gulab Chand Kataria, leader of Opposition, alleged that the legislation violated the law against child marriages. He told the media, “I think this law is completely wrong. The legislators who have passed it have not seen it. Section 8 of the Bill violates the present law in force against child marriages,” he said.

The apex child rights body, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), has also agreed to examine the new bill “to protect the interest of children”.

 

 

The bill has also added a provision that enables a widow, widower, or their children, parents or kin in case both have died, to register their marriage within thirty days of the death. Dhariwal reportedly said that in absence of a marriage certificate, a widow is often deprived of access to various schemes.

The 2021 bill also empowers the government to appoint Additional District Marriage Registration Officer (DMRO) and Block MRO to register marriages.

The amendment bill may be read here:

 

Related:

No data on increase in child abuse cases due to Covid-19 lockdown: Centre

Child Marriages—Especially Of Girls—Rise in Urban India, Decline In Rural

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