Registration of Child Marriages: The Rajasthan Assembly, on 17 September 2021, passed the Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages (Amendment) Bill, 2021, to amend a 2009 Act, making the registration of marriages, including child marriages, mandatory.
- However, this action of the Rajasthan Government was opposed by the opposition parties saying that registering child marriage is like giving legal recognition to such marriages and also that the child marriage is illegal under the Child Marriage Restraint Act, also known as Sharda Act.
As per the new amendment –
- A bride and a groom can apply for the registration of their marriage to the marriage registration officer of the place where they have been residing for more than 30 days.
- The marriage between a groom under 21 years and a bride under 18 years could be registered by their parents or guardians.
Note: Child Marriages are strictly prohibited in India as per The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
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.
Notably, the 2009 Act had only provided the scope for district marriage registration officers.
What is the difference between the amendment compared to the 2009 Act?
Both the new amendment and the 2009 Act make the registration of child marriage compulsory. The difference is only in terms of age.
- Under the 2009 Act, if both the bride and the groom are under 21, their parents/guardians have to register for their marriage.
- The amendment seeks to differentiate between the age of the bride (18) and the bridegroom (21) for the same.