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Rajasthan Rolls Back Controversial Law Amid Uproar by Oppn & Activists Over 'Encouraging' Child Marriages in State

Despite a ban on child marriages, Rajasthan has been reporting suc h cases over the years.(Image: REUTERS/Amit Dave/File)

Despite a ban on child marriages, Rajasthan has been reporting suc h cases over the years.(Image: REUTERS/Amit Dave/File)

The opposition BJP and rights activists had objected to a provision in the Bill that allowed registration of marriage even if couple had not attained legal age to tie the knot.

The Rajasthan government has decided to recall the recently passed marriage registration bill to re-examine it, chief minister Ashok Gehlot said on Monday, citing concerns that its provisions will encourage child marriages. Gehlot said the state government will urge the governor to return the bill for legal consultations.

The opposition BJP and rights activists had objected 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. “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 the government is working with a “strong will" for the complete eradication of child marriage in the state. “We have a strong resolve that child marriage should not take place in the state and the government will not make any compromise in this regard," he tweeted.

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Gehlot said the Supreme Court had made it necessary to register every marriage after which the Bill was introduced and passed.

“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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first published:October 12, 2021, 00:36 IST