Jaipur: In an unprecedented move that can open a Pandora’s Box, the Rajasthan Assembly led by the Congress government, on Friday, passed a bill that would amend an act for registration of marriages including child marriage. However, the opposition BJP members staged a walk out on the ground that the bill leverages efforts to legalise child marriage.
The assembly passed the Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages (Amendment) Bill, 2021, that amends the Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act, 2009 under which information on child marriage must be divulged within 30 days of the wedding.
“It will be a black day for the assembly if this bill is passed. Does the assembly permit us to unanimously allow child marriages? By a show of hands, we will be permitting child marriages. The bill will write a black chapter in the history of the assembly,” BJP MLA Ashok Lahoti told news agency ANI.
The bill grants the appointment of an additional district marriage registration officer (DMRO) and block marriage registration officer to register marriages. Under Section 8 of the Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act, If the girl’s age at the time of marriage is less than 18 years and the boy’s age is less than 21, then her parents will have to inform the registration officer within 30 days, the Hindustan Times reports.
The state government refuted BJP allegations that the bill validated child marriage. “You say that child marriages will be validated. Nowhere does this amendment say that such marriages will be valid. Marriage certificate is a legal document, in the absence of which a widow won’t receive benefit of any govt scheme,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal said.
Congress leaders pointed out the bill had been passed as per the orders of the Supreme Court.