Parliamentary panel examining age of marriage to seek extension

Second extension expired on July 24

July 26, 2022 09:16 pm | Updated 09:16 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Photo for representational purposes

Photo for representational purposes

The Parliamentary panel constituted to examine the Bill that seeks to raise the age of marriage for women to 21 years is likely to seek yet another extension for three months to submit its report.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Women, Children, Youth and Sports Affairs, which is examining the provisions of the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, appointed in January, was given three months till March to submit its report, and was later granted an extension till June 24. A second extension followed and the panel was given time till July 24.

The Committee has decided to seek a third extension but has not able to make a request in the House because of protests by opposition MPs, a member of the panel told The Hindu. The member added that extension will be requested for three months.

The Committee’s Chairperson, BJP MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe’s term as Rajya Sabha member ended on July 4. 

The panel has held meetings with women’s and children’s rights activists. Many of these workers have underlined that it was more important to improve access to education rather than raising the age of marriage, which could criminalise young adults entering into self-arranged marriages against the consent of their families. They want the Right to Education Act, 2009 be extended from 14 years to 18 years to incentivise girls to continue their education till Class 12 and have said that since the Bill aimed to curb maternal and infant mortality and improve nutrition levels among children, it was imperative to improve some of the underlying factors such as poverty levels, and access to health services.

Women’s organisations such as the All India Democratic Women’s Association and the National Federation of India in a joint memorandum also submitted that the age of marriage for both women and men should be fixed at 18 years, in line with the recommendation of the Law Commission Report of 2008 as well as the Indian Majority Act, 1875, which grants men and women the right to enter into contracts when they attain the age of 18 years.

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