The law, which was overturned after meeting strong opposition, made the registration of all marriages, including those of minors, compulsory.
Rajasthan’s Compulsory Marriage Registration (Amendment) Bill of 2021 contains a provision requiring child marriages to be registered within 30 days.
The government of Rajasthan overturned Rajasthan’s Compulsory Marriage Registration Amendment Bill, 2021, after it became embroiled in controversy over making registration of all marriages mandatory, including those of minors.
The government tabled the bill in the state assembly last month, but the opposition, along with welfare organizations across the country, opposed it.
On August 16, the Ashok Gehlot government of Rajasthan introduced the Rajasthan Compulsory Marriage Registration (Amendment) Bill to the state assembly. The bill that was passed amended section 8 of the Rajasthan Compulsory Marriage Registration Act 2009.
WHAT CAUSED THE CONTROVERSY
The original provision of the law required mandatory registration of marriage within 30 days if the bride and groom were under the age of 21. The age criteria for men and women were the same. Registration had to be done by their parents.
The amended version states that parents must register the marriage within 30 days of the marriage “if the bride is under 18 and the groom is under 21”.
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On Monday, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced the decision to recall the law during an International Day of the Girl program. Social welfare organizations questioned the legality of the provision making registration of child marriages mandatory and took the matter to the High Court.
OPPOSITION TO THE LAW
The opposition in Rajasthan has accused the congressional government of opening “the floodgates” for child marriage in the state and of giving “validation to what is a social evil”.
Rajasthan had banned child marriage by passing the Child Marriage Prohibition Act in 2006. The law appears to have helped reduce cases of child marriage, as data from the National Survey on Childhood shows. family health (NFHS) from 2015-16.
STATE GOVERNMENT ON LAW
Although the government has said the child marriage provision was included to follow a Supreme Court rule, it will not be sent for the governor’s approval.
Previously, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal had defended the bill and said the bill allows for the registration of marriages, but does not contain any provision making such marriages valid. Child marriage would continue to remain illegal under Rajasthan’s 2006 Child Marriage Act, he said.
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