A parliamentary committee examining a Bill which seeks to increase the age of marriage of women from the present 18 to 21 years has been granted a fresh three-month extension to table its report.
The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2021 and was referred to the Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports. The panel has received multiple extensions since it began its deliberations. The last meeting that the panel held on the Bill was on May 17, 2022. The 31-member committee has only three women MPs.
According to a Rajya Sabha bulletin issued on October 17, House Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar has granted another three-month extension to the panel till January 24, 2024 to examine and present its report on the Bill. The Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports functions under the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.
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Soon after introducing the Bill, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani had requested the Lok Sabha Speaker to refer the Bill to the Standing Committee for detailed examination. The Bill seeks to bring parity in the minimum age of marriage for men and women overriding all existing laws, including any custom, usage, or practice governing the parties in relation to marriage.