Rajasthan’s new law faces questions over validation of child marriages


The number of underage marriages has declined in Rajasthan over the years.


Controversy over a new state marriage registration law shakes Rajasthan. While the congressional-led government has said there is nothing new but a technical change to an old piece of legislation, the opposition is convinced it validates the social evil of child marriage.

Rajasthan’s Compulsory Marriage Registration (Amendment) Bill passed by the State Assembly on Friday amended section 8 of a 2009 law. This clause now states that “if the bride has less age 18 and the groom is under the age of 21 “, their parents must register the marriage within 30 days of the event. In the 2009 version, the age criterion was 21 for both.

The opposition had organized an Assembly walkout on change.

“By amending the marriage registration law, they opened the floodgates by saying that if the bride is under 18 and the groom is under 21, their marriage can be registered on request,” said Rajendra Rathore. , the deputy leader of the opposition in the Assembly of Rajasthan.

“It will increase and validate what is a social evil. How can the government do it? “

However, the government of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the opposition fully interpreted the amendment.

Besides the fact that the Supreme Court ruled in 2006 saying that all marriages, including those involving minors, must be registered, it says that registering the ritual in a public register makes it easier to fight against marriages of children since documentary evidence is now available.

The government insists that there is no “validation” involved. District tax collectors have the power to act against social evil and the Last Amendment, he says, protects the interests of minors, especially in cases where the girl is widowed.

On the floor of the House, State Minister of Legal Affairs Shanti Dhariwal said: “The marriage certificate is a legal document in the absence of which a widow will not receive the benefits of any government regime.”

The number of underage marriages has declined in Rajasthan, according to data from the 2015-2016 National Family Health Survey. The state introduced the Child Marriage Prohibition Act in 2006.


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