It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021,
which intends to increase the legal marriage age for women from 18 to 21 years,
would become effective in 2021 and will replace current marriage and personal
laws in the nation.
The Bill, which proposes revisions to the 2006 legislation and was introduced in
the Lok Sabha on Tuesday by Smriti Irani, the Union Minister for Women and Child
Development, has been referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee for further
debate and deliberation. Irani said that the proposed law was secular in nature.
"All women of all religions, whether they are covered by the Hindu Marriage Act
or the Muslim Personal Law, should have equal rights to marry," she said.
Members of Congress and other Opposition parties were vocal in their opposition
to the Bill and questioned the "hurriedness " with which it was introduced in the
This legal shift was formalised by the introduction of legislation in the Lok
Sabha on December 21. However, after objections from the opposing parties, it
was referred to a parliamentary committee for further consideration. Following
the passage of the bill, the new minimum marital age for women will take
precedence over all other personal laws; as a result, the legal age of marriage
will be increased for all females, regardless of their religious affiliation.
The Indian government raised the legal minimum marriage age for females from 15
to 18 years old in 1978, and the legal minimum marriage age for boys from 18 to
21 years old in 1978.
India is a varied country with a diverse population and a broad range of
beliefs; as a result, people's reactions to this law are as diverse as they are.
Some people think this is a fantastic move forward by the government, while
others believe it has several loopholes.
It is stated in the Bill that "in
section 1 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (hereinafter referred
to as the principal Act), in sub-section (2), after the words "citizens of India
without and beyond India," the words "notwithstanding anything contrary or
inconsistent therewith contained in the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872; the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936; the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat)
Application Act, 1937; the Special Marriage Act, 2006;
The proposed modification to define a kid is as follows:
- "child" denotes a person or female who has not reached the age of
According to the Statement of Objects and Reasons contained in the Bill, "in
order to address the issues of women in a holistic manner, as a measure for
empowerment of women, gender equality, increasing female labour force
participation, making them self-reliant and enabling them to make decisions for
themselves, the Bill proposes to:
- Amend the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, to strengthen its
application overriding all other existing laws, including any custom;
- Amend the Prohibition of The House of Representatives heard Irani say, "I recognise
that my choice has ramifications on social, cultural, family, and emotional
I would like to personally recommend,
on behalf of the administration, that this matter be considered in further depth
in the Standing Committee on Finance. I would like to propose that this Bill be
referred to the Standing Committee on the Budget on behalf of the
administration." Earlier, opposition lawmakers, while criticising the
administration for its "hurried" introduction of the Bill, said that it was a
breach of basic rights and that it would have an influence on personal
The Iranian foreign minister responded to the criticism by saying, "We are 75
years late in offering equal rights to men and women to join into marriage. The
marriageable age for women in the nineteenth century was ten years old. By 1940,
the term had been extended to 12-14 years. Women who have achieved the age of 15
were legally married in 1978. Men and women will be able to choose their own
marriages for the first time as a result of this Bill, which recognises the
right to equality."
She reacted angrily to allegations that illiterate women would be unable to
comprehend or use their legal rights, calling them "an insult to the women of
rural America." She claims that between 2015 and 2020, as many as 20 lakh
incidents of child marriage would be prevented or curtailed. According to the
National Federation of High Schools statistics, 7 percent of females between the
ages of 15 and 18 have been discovered to be pregnant. According to her, up to
23 percent of girls were married before the age of 18, despite the fact that the
law prohibits it.
"We want to indicate to the administration that if you do something in hurry,
you are more likely to make errors," said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a member of
the Congress who is opposed to the legislation. This subject has sparked a great
deal of discussion all throughout India.
Furthermore, this administration has not communicated with states or engaged
with stakeholders... "We urge that this Bill be sent to the Standing Committee
as soon as possible," we write. Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM said that it was a
breach of basic rights protected by Article 19. ET Mohammed Basheer of the
Islamic University of Malaysia (IUML) said that the Bill was illegal and
violated Article 25 of the Constitution. According to him, "this is an assault
on personal law and basic liberties in our nation." The Nationalist Congress
Party, the DMK, the Shiv Sena, and the TMC have all called for the Bill to be
sent to the Standing Committee.
The legal age of marriage for women is being increased by the Centre in
accordance with the recommendations of the Jaya Jaitly Committee, which was
established by the Ministry of Women, Children and Family Development in June
When the age of marriage was originally fixed at 16 years, and subsequently
increased to 18 years in 1978, what we have said is that the Muslim Personal Law
was not amended, but rather that they chose to remain silent. Nonetheless,
according to our understanding, Muslims were required to immediately observe the
new legislation, even if no amendments were made.
The age of marriage in Islam is not a young one. An further Supreme Court
decision said that where a conflict exists between constitutional law and
personal law, the Constitutional Law is to be taken into consideration.
According to Jaitly, "Our objective is not to cause damage to Muslims;
nonetheless, just like with the triple talaq, if any legislation is shown to be
in conflict with the Constitution of the nation, the Constitution of the country
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