A circular issued by the Local Self-Government Department allowing registration of Muslim marriages below the existing age limit has stirred up a controversy.
“The order has misinterpreted the Child Marriage Prohibition Act, 2006, in that it does not deem marriages of men below the age of 21 and women below the age of 18 null and void”, opines social critic Hameed Chennamangaloor.
However, IUML general secretary K P A Majeed claimed that there was nothing wrong with the circular. “This is for the purpose of legalising some marriages that have already took place. The decision was taken with the consent of the Law Department and would not be applicable to future marriages,” he added.
The circular issued by James Varghese, LSG principal secretary, added that ‘under-age’ marriages can be registered under the Kerala Marriages Registration Act, Section (9) 3, if the parties produce certificates issued by religious authorities.
Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan said that the circular was a mockery of the Constitution and directives issued by the Supreme Court and the State Assembly.