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Assam scraps Muslim Marriages, Divorces Registration Act

TBP Desk
24 Feb 2024 22:14:15 | Update: 24 Feb 2024 22:14:15
Assam scraps Muslim Marriages, Divorces Registration Act
— Representational Photo

The Assam Cabinet on Friday approved repeal of the Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act, 1935. Chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma wrote on X that the move will help the government prevent child marriages in the state, reports Hindustan Times.

"On February 23, the Assam cabinet made a significant decision to repeal the age-old Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act. This act contained provisions allowing marriage registration even if the bride and groom had not reached the legal ages of 18 and 21, as required by law. This move marks another significant step towards prohibiting child marriages in Assam," he said.

Elaborating on why it decided to repeal the act, the government said that under the law, registration of marriages and divorces isn't mandatory as per the Act. It also said that the machinery of registration is informal, leaving a lot of scope for non-compliance of norms.

"As per provisions of the Act, there remains scope for registering marriages of intended persons below 21 years (for males) and 18 years (for females) and there is hardly any monitoring for implementation of the Act," state government said, per ANI.

Assam minister Jayanta Malla Baruah told HT that the move is a step towards implementing the Uniform Civil Code in the state.

What will change after the implementation of this order?

The law currently provides the facility of voluntary registration of Muslim marriages and divorces. It also authorised the government to provide licenses to Muslim people to register such marriages and divorces.

After the law is repealed, such people won't be able to register marriages and divorces.

After repealing the law, the Assam government said district commissioners and district registrars will take custody of registration records held by 94 Muslim Marriage Registrars.

The government will provide a one-time compensation of ₹2 lakh each to Muslim Marriage Registrars for their rehabilitation after the Act is repealed.

Baruah said the Assam government wants all such marriages to be registered under the Special Marriage Act.

He said the Act was being used to register the marriages of underaged boys and girls.

Government's UCC promise

Since Himanta Biswa Sarma became the chief minister of the state, bringing the UCC has been his main promise to the people of Assam. Earlier this month, he said the government will ban polygamy in the state.

He has often said that after Uttarakhand and Gujarat, Assam will be the third state to implement the Uniform Civil Code.

The Uttarakhand government earlier this month passed the Uniform Civil Code bill in its assembly. The bill replaces several religious personal laws governing marriages, divorces and inheritance with common rules, equally applicable to people of all religions.

In January, Sarma said Assam's UCC bill follows those brought by Uttarakhand and Gujarat. He said the tribal community will be exempted from the ambit of the Uniform Civil Code. He said the UCC bill can be brought in 2-3 months.

The Uttarakhand bill also exempts tribals. The Muslim bodies have questioned the exemption. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi had claimed UCC was in violation of the fundamental rights of the Muslim community.