Smriti Irani Introduces Bill to Increase Marriageable Age of Women to 21 Years in LS

Smriti Irani Introduces Bill to Increase Marriageable Age of Women to 21 Years in LS
Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani on Tuesday introduced the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which seeks to fix 21 years as the uniform age of marriage for women and men. The minister termed the move a 'decisive step' in the country's history.

The bill was opposed by some members who contended that the move infringed upon several personal laws in violation of fundamental rights and demanded that it be referred to a parliamentary panel for greater scrutiny.

Introducing the bill, Smriti Irani urged the Chair to refer it to a standing committee.

The bill seeks to increase the legal age for women to marry to 21 years, bringing in at par with those of men.

It seeks to amend seven personal laws — the Indian Christian Marriage Act; the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act; the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act; the Special Marriage Act; the Hindu Marriage Act; and the Foreign Marriage Act.

Smriti Irani said the bill also seeks to override all existing laws, including any custom, usage or practice governing the parties in relation to marriage, a PTI report said.

Opposition members hit out at the government for the introduction of the bill in a hurry and without any consultation with stakeholders.

Congress deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi said the provisions of the bill were contrary to the Law Commission recommendations that had suggested making 18 years as the uniform marriageable age for men and women.

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