The minimum age of girls for Marriage has been proposed to be made religion-neutral at 21 years of age. As per the decision of the Cabinet, this decision will bring a new law soon that will amend the ‘The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006’ (PCMA).
As per the government sources, The Centre is likely to introduce The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in Parliament on December 20 during the Winter Session.
As per Union Minister Anurag Thakur, The Cabinet nod to make the age of marriage of girls equal to males i.e., 21 is a historic and momentous decision that has the potential of transforming the lives of women and girls and is a step forward in the direction of gender equality.
The new bill proposes to amend ‘The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006’& consequential amendments in laws relating to the age of marriage – Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872’; ‘Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936’; ‘the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, the Special Marriage Act, 1954’; ‘the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955’; and ‘the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969’. Also, the laws namely ‘the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956’; and ‘Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956’. So, every Major Marriage Law is going to be buried and all of this will be combined into one new law.
The Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy, and particularly the Right to Equality and Right Against Exploitation under the Constitution of India guarantees gender equality. The government believes this moves creates more equality.
However, A major section has opposed the initiative of the center. The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has taken up the issue of the Central government’s proposal and decided to oppose it as it goes against Sharia. AIMPLB said, “It goes against sharia and it’ll increase the tension of parents since they’ll have to keep an eye on the child and protect them for three more years”.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party (SP) MP Shafiqur Rahman has said that India is a poor country and everybody wants to marry off their daughter at an early age. He has decided to not support the bill at any cost.
This bill is gaining attention and a possible new protest due to the law will likely begin to roll back it.