Two Gujarat MLAs have demanded in the state Assembly that the consent of parents should be made mandatory when adult children choose their own partners, The Hindu reported on Wednesday.

Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Fatesinh Chauhan and Congress legislator Geniben Thakor made the demand during the Budget Session of the Assembly on March 17.

Chauhan and Thakor sought an amendment to the Registration of Marriages Act, 2009, to make signatures of the parents mandatory in such cases. They also demanded that such marriages should be registered in the taluka where the man or woman live.

Chauhan claimed that marriages solemnised without the parents’ consent lead to an increase in the crime rate, The Times of India reported. “...If such marriages are registered with the consent of the parents, the crime rate would come down to 50%,” he declared.

The BJP MLA said that sometimes, court marriages are registered not in the area where the man or woman live, but in other districts.

“The boy and girl hide their documents and marry in other districts and later either the girl suffers, or the parents have to commit suicide,” he said. “Parents who are busy because of their professions cannot take care of their girls and hence anti-socials take advantage of this and elope with girls.”

In a similar vein, Thakor said that love marriages that take place without the parents’ approval should be discouraged. “We are not against ‘love’ marriages between a girl and a boy, but we are against the marriage where the consent of the parents has not been obtained,” she said, according to The Hindu.

Thakor demanded that such marriages should be registered in the taluka where the woman and her family lives, and that there should be local witnesses for the marriages.

Last year, members of the state’s influential Patidar community had said that the signature of at least one parent should be mandatory for marriages to be registered if a woman from the community were to marry a man of her choice.

RR Patel, the convenor of the Patidar Organisation Co-ordination Committee, had said that the group would make a representation in this regard to the Gujarat government.

“The entire Patidar community is upset because girls from the community choose their life partners without informing parents and get married by arranging two witnesses,” he had said. “We have observed that very often, our girls are under pressure and instances of ‘love jihad’ have also happened in the past.”

“Love jihad” is a debunked Hindutva idea that Muslim men lure Hindu women into romantic relationships in order to convert them to Islam.