Despite the increased awareness around child marriage in India and the moves to stop it, there are processes in motion that are currently vying to legitimise the illegal act.
According to Live Law, the Rajasthan State Assembly passed a bill on 17th September to amend the 2009 Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act. It calls for compulsory registration of all marriages, including child marriages.
The bill basically states that a marriage between a man under the age of 21 and a woman under the age of 18 can be registered by the parents or the guardians within 30 days of the marriage.
In India, child marriage is prohibited as per The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
However, Shanti Kumar Dhariwal, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, defended the bill, stating,
This amendment is not in contradiction to the central law. The Supreme Court has also ruled that there should be compulsory registration of marriages. Hence, the bill includes child marriages.
In essence, this bill validates child marriages, and also undoes all the years of work put into eliminating the criminal practise of child marriage. It’s an attack on a person’s fundamental right to choose.
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