KOZHIKODE: The Central government’s plan to raise the legal age for marriage of women from 18 to 21 has not gone down well with the Indian Union Muslim League’s women’s wing which said such a decision would cause social issues leading to “live-in relationship” and “illegitimate children”. Peeved at the move, the Indian Union Women League (IUWL) has sent a petition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking to scrap it.
The Central government had set up a 10-member task force headed by Jaya Jaitly to look into raising the age for marriage of women. “The IUWL has sent a petition to the prime minister demanding that such a move should be dropped,” said the body’s general secretary P K Noorbeena Rasheed, a former state women’s commission member.
Noorbeena said many developing countries had brought down the women’s marriage age from 21 to 18 considering their biological and social needs. “We’ve the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 with strong penal provisions including rigorous imprisonment. What is the point in raising the marriage age of women instead of implementing the existing law more effectively?” she asked.
“I’ve heard that the Centre found that around 30 per cent of women are getting married before they turn 18. Does raising the age bar in any way prevent such child marriages?” asked Noorbeena, who added that the IUWL did not discuss the issue with the Muslim League. The party sources confirmed that the women’s wing’s stance was independent. Kerala reported 266 complaints of child marriage between January 2019 and July 2020.