The Congress government in Rajasthan will reconsider a recently passed bill to amend the Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act, 2009.
The Rajasthan government on 17 September this year passed a bill to make the registration of child marriages compulsory in the state — notorious for underage marriages.
The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party criticised the bill as legitimising child marriages. The bill is pending with the Governor Kalraj Mishra for his assent.
He is reportedly studying the bill following the objections raised by opposition political parties as well as civil society groups.
The bill aimed to amend the Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act 2009. There is not much difference between both. The 2009 Act had stated the same, with the only difference being that the age mentioned was 21 years for both boys and girls.
The new bill has the following provisions:
Mandatory registration of marriages, including child marriages
The bride and groom within a child marriage can apply for registration of marriage to the marriage registration officer of the place where they have been residing for more than 30 days. In case they are below the prescribed ages, their parents can also get the registration done within 30 days of the marriage
While earlier, only the District Marriage Registration Officer (DMRO) was authorised to register the marriages, the bill passed on Friday empowers the government to appoint Additional DMROs and Block MROs to register marriages
A widow or a widower, or their children, parents or kin in case both have died, can register their marriage within 30 days of the death.
In light of the criticism of the bill, the Rajasthan government led by Ashok Gehlot has decided to review the bill. On Monday (11 October), at a function marking the International Girl Child Day, Gehlot said that the state government would urge the governor to return the bill for legal scrutiny.
Gehlot said that it was his government’s resolve to stop child marriages at any cost, and that the bill had been brought in accordance with a 2006 judgment of the Supreme Court making it compulsory to register all marriages of Indian citizens.
"Since a controversy had erupted that it would promote child marriages, the bill would be re-examined," he said.
The bill has sought to amend Sections 5 and 8 of the Act of 2009, dealing with the appointment of Marriage Registration Officers and the duty of parties to a marriage to submit the memorandum for registration. The amendment authorises women above 18 years to provide information of their marriage on their own.
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