Bill to increase marriage age of women to 21 yrs to be sent to House panel: Smriti Irani

Hindu marriage act bill

Previously, the opposition criticized the government for rushing the Bill through by including it in the supplementary list of businesses without consulting states or other stakeholders.
On Tuesday, the government informed the Lok Sabha that it intends to refer the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Act, 2021 to a Parliamentary Standing Committee for further consideration. The Bill, introduced by Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani amid opposition from Congress and other parties for the haste it was introduced, seeks to raise the legal age for women to marry from 18 to 21 years.
“I recognize the social, cultural, familial, and sentimental issues involved in this decision.” On behalf of the government, I propose that this be discussed in detail in Standing Committee. “I would like to request that this Bill be referred to the Standing Committee on behalf of the government,” Irani said.
Given Bill’s sensitivity, they demanded that it be referred to a Standing Committee for broader consultation.
The opposition also claimed that the Bill violated fundamental rights and would impact personal laws.
Irani responded, “We are 75 years late in providing equal rights to men and women to enter into matrimony.” Women could marry at the age of ten in the nineteenth century, and it was raised to 12-14 years by 1940, and women over the age of 15 were married in 1978. “For the first time, through this Bill, men and women can decide on their marriage while maintaining their right to equality,” Irani said.
She insisted on the proposed legislation’s secular nature. “Under the Hindu Marriage Act or the Muslim Personal Law, all women of all faiths should have equal rights to marry,” she said.

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