The Centre has decided to send the marriage bill to Parliamentary Standing Committee after Members of Parliament opposed the increase in the marriage age of women from 18 to 21 years.
Union minister for women and child development Smriti Irani on Tuesday told Lok Sabha that the government has recommended to sent the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, to a standing committee. The amended bill proposes to increase the age of marriage of women from 18 to 21 years
“I would like to present that women equality in our country needs to be seen in (terms of) age of marriage. Invoking different marriage laws of different faiths, I rise to introduce the amendment bill,” Irani said
However, opposition leaders, including Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Gaurav Gogoi, AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi, Trinamool Congress’ Saugata Roy raised their objections to the bill.
Chowdhury said the government did not consult any of the stakeholders before introducing the amendment and suggested the bill be sent to the standing committee.
NCP MP Supriya Sule said this is the second or third time that the government is aggressively bringing in a bill without consulting the opposition.
“After so many years of Independence, men and women need equal rights in matrimony. This amendment gives equality to men and women in allowing both to marry at 21. Our research shows that 21 lakh child marriages had to be stopped and many underage girls were found pregnant. So you are stopping women from their right to equality,” Irani quipped.
Owaisi said, “This is against fundamental rights. An 18-year-old can vote, but cannot get married? What is your ‘Beti Bachao programme’ about?”
Soon after, the House was adjourned for the day.