The Rajasthan government on Monday recalled a Bill that had provisions mandating compulsory registration of all marriages, including those of minors.
In September, the state Assembly had passed the Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The Opposition had walked out of the Assembly in protest, claiming that the Bill would legitimise child marriage, PTI reported.
However, in a tweet on the occasion of the International Girl Child Day on Monday, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot urged the governor to revert the Bill in view of the “misconception regarding child marriage”.
“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 Gehlot said in the tweet.
The chief minister added that his government had introduced the Bill to abide by a Supreme Court order making registration of all marriages mandatory.
Gehlot addressed the matter while speaking at an event on the International Girl Child Day as well. He said that the Bill was meant to “safeguard the legal rights of children born out of wedlock and widows”, according to The Times of India.
In India, the minimum age for marriage for women is 18 years. In the case of men it is 21 years.
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act states: “Whoever, being a male adult above eighteen years of age, contracts a child marriage, shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.”
Anyone who “performs, conducts, directs or abets any child marriage” is also liable to be punished, the Act states.
The Rajasthan government’s Bill said that parents or guardians must furnish a memorandum for registration within a month of the date of marriage if the “the bride is under 18 and the groom is under 21”, the Hindustan Times reported.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights had also objected to the Bill, saying that it would have a serious impact on the physical and psychological condition of children, according to PTI.