Marriage bill sent to standing committee as Lok Sabha MPs oppose amendment
Congress MP Adhir Ranjan 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.
Union minister for women and child development Smriti Irani on Tuesday said the government recommended the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in the Lok Sabha be sent to a standing committee. The amended bill proposes to increase the age of marriage of women from 18 to 21 years
Introducing the amendment bill in the lower House of Parliament, Irani earlier said, “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.”
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.
Stating that this is the second or third time that the government is aggressively bringing in a bill without consulting the opposition, NCP MP Supriya Sule the former is not even sticking to the business advisory council.
In response, Irani said, “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.”
Gogoi said, “Even the law commission had objections to the bill so it should be sent to the standing committee.” Roy said he opposed the bill that was introduced in a hurry. “The minorities are totally opposed to the bill and stakeholders need to be consulted,” he added.
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.
(With inputs from bureau)