The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that seeks to raise the minimum legal age of marriage for girls from 18 to 21 years was introduced in the Lok Sabha Tuesday.
Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani introduced the Bill amid the din, with the Opposition members demanding that it should be sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee. Later, the minister announced the government’s intention to send the Bill to the standing committee and it was subsequently sent to the panel.
Explained |Raising legal age of marriage for women: the law, the reasons and the criticism
The Bill, which was cleared by the Cabinet last week, was not listed for introduction in the revised list of business but, later in the day, the government included it in the agenda through a supplementary list.
When Irani rose to introduce the Bill in the House post-lunch, the Opposition members opposed its introduction.
The Opposition also said that the Bill was a violation of fundamental rights and would impact personal laws.
The government on Tuesday told Lok Sabha that it proposes to send the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Act, 2021 to a Parliamentary Standing Committee for further discussion. Introduced by Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani amid opposition from Congress and other parties for the haste in which it was being brought in, the Bill seeks to increase the legal age for women to marry to 21 years from 18 years.
“I understand the social, cultural, familial and sentimental issues associated with this decision. I wish to myself propose on behalf of the government that this is discussed in detail in Standing Committee. On behalf the government, I would request that this Bill be sent to the Standing Committee,” Irani said.
Earlier, the Opposition criticised the government for the hurried introduction of the Bill by mentioning it in the supplementary list of business without consulting states and other stakeholders. They had demanded that the Bill be sent to a Standing Committee for wider consultation given its sensitivity.
The Chartered Accountants, the Cost and Works Accountants and the Company Secretaries (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was also sent to the standing committee. Later, the House was adjourned till Wednesday.