Rajasthan passes bill to allow registration of child marriages

As per the new amendment, if the bride or groom are underage, the groom is below 21 years and bride is under 18 years, their parents or guardians shall be responsible to submit the memorandum for registration of their marriage within a specified time of thirty days from the date of marriage. 

Created On: Sep 20, 2021 13:09 IST
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot

The Rajasthan Assembly passed a bill on September 17, 2021 amending the 2009 Act [Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act] that provides for mandatory registration of marriages, including child marriages.

The bill mandates information on marriages including child marriages to be furnished by their parents or guardians within 30 days of the wedding. The bill proposes to amend Section 8 of the 2009 Act, which states the duty of parties to the marriage to submit a Memorandum for registration of marriage to the Registrar under whose jurisdiction the marriage was solemnized.

As per the bill, it is the duty of the following to submit the memorandum to the registrar:

•Parties to the marriage, applicable in case bridegroom has completed 21 years and the bride has completed 18 years or 

•Parents or guardians of the parties in case the bridegroom has not completed 21years and the bride has not completed 18 years.

What does this mean?

As per the new amendment, if the bride or groom are underage, the groom is below 21 years and bride is under 18 years, their parents or guardians shall be responsible to submit the memorandum for registration of their marriage within a specified time of thirty days from the date of solemnisation of the marriage to the Registrar.

On the other hand, if the bride is 18 years or above and the groom is 21 years and above, then they both can themselves submit the memorandum of their marriage. 

The 2009 Act also essentially states the same thing but the age mentioned is 21 years for both boys and girls. In other words, till now if the bride and groom have completed 21 years of age, they can themselves submit their marriage memorandum. However, if the bride and groom haven't completed 21 years then their parents or guardians will have to submit their marriage memorandum. In essence, both the 2009 Act and the proposed amendment make registration of child marriage mandatory. 

Child Marriages are strictly prohibited in India as per The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

The Rajasthan government argued that the Bill is in line with the 2006 Supreme Court ruling that stated all marriages have to be registered, whether one is minor or not.

Other Key Amendments 

The amendment bill also seeks to the following new subsection (1-A) before sub-section (2) under Section 8 of the 2009 Rajasthan Marriage Act: 

1-A- If, at any time, death of either of the parties to the marriage or of both occurs, the surviving party, parents, adult child or, as the case may be, guardian of the parties may submit the memorandum. The provision would enable a widow or a widower, or their children, parents, or their kin to register their marriage within 30 days of their death.

The bill also proposes to amend Sections 2, 5, and 15 of the 2009 Act to make marriage registration possible at the block level. This provides for the appointment of a Block Marriage Registration Officer and Additional Marriage Registration Officer. Till now, marriage registration could only be done at the district level by the District Marriage Registration Officer.

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