Rajasthan Govt To Withdraw the Disputed Marriage Registration Bill
The Rajasthan Assembly, last month, had passed a Bill for the registration of marriages, including child marriages.
Weeks after it passed a law to register child marriages, the Rajasthan government has now decided to take a U-turn on the issue and withdraw the controversial 'Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages Amendment Bill 2021' it had passed in the Assembly on 17 September.
While speaking at a state-level function on International Girl Child Day on Monday evening, 11 October, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that this Bill was brought in compliance with a decision of the Supreme Court, which was now being disputed.
He said the state government would get its legal study done again, and state Governor Kalraj Mishra had been asked to send the Bill back. Gehlot said that it was not a matter of prestige for them.
He said it was their resolve that child marriage should not take place in Rajasthan under any circumstances.
"Addressed the state level function organized on International Girl Child Day. The state 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," the chief minister said in a tweet.
"The Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages (Amendment) Bill, 2021 had been brought in the spirit of an order of the Supreme Court regarding compulsory registration of marriages. But since a misconception that has been created regarding child marriage, we will request the Hon'ble Governor to return the bill to the government," he added.
On 17 September, the Rajasthan Assembly had passed a Bill to amend a 2009 Act on mandatory registration of marriages, including child marriages.
The Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages (Amendment) Bill, 2021, had amended the Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act, 2009. The Bill made it mandatory for all types of marriages to be registered within thirty days.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators had walked out of the House in protest and questioned the need for the registration of child marriages, and demanded the withdrawal of the Bill.
BJP had strongly objected to this as many believed this would justify child marriage. The Opposition alleged that the Bill should not be passed as it affects the "progressive" image of the state.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal had argued that child marriage registration did not imply that they would be considered valid.
"Even if a marriage among underage children is held, its registration is mandatory. However, the Bill doesn't make the marriage legal, and the District Collector can take action against them," Dhariwal had said.
Dhariwal said that the Supreme Court, in its judgment, had directed that registration of all types of marriages would be mandatory.
Dhariwal had said that if a minor is married, they become an adult and will also have the right to annul the marriage. Dhariwal said that child marriages are taking place in the country even today, and it is not only a matter of Rajasthan but of the whole country.
She said there was a protest across the country regarding this new law passed by the Rajasthan government, adding that petitions had also been filed in the High Court and Supreme Court to quash the Bill.
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