Marriage Age Rules: JS body suggests spl provision for boys too
The parliamentary body on women and children affairs has recommended that boys should also be allowed to marry before the permissible age under “special circumstances”.
A bill placed in December last year to ratify the Child Marriage Restraint Act-2016 cited “special circumstances” under which girls should be allowed to marry in her best interests with prior permission from a court and the consent of parents.
In the report made upon scrutinising the proposed law, the parliamentary body replaced the word “girls” with “under-aged” who can be given permission to tie the knot in consideration of special circumstances. Rebeka Momin, chief of the committee, submitted the report last night.
If such a provision is incorporated in the act, boys will be able to marry before they turn 21 provided they fulfil the requirements.
According to the draft, a boy below 21 and a girl below 18 should be considered under-aged and so should be ineligible to marry. Such marriages, except for the special cases for girls, should be treated as child marriage.
Women and rights bodies have been demanding cancellation of the “special provision” since the cabinet approved the draft of the proposed law in November last year.
The government had faced a wave of criticism when it, more than two years ago, planned to lower the minimum marriage age for girls to 16. The provision put forward at the time was such that a 16-year-old girl would be allowed to marry with her parents' consent or a court's permission obtained on justified grounds.
Amid protests, the government backtracked on that position but in the final draft left the scope for special cases.
The Jatiya Sangsad committee also recommended replacing the word “parents” with “parents or guardians where necessary” and punishing girls for violation of the law. The original bill had provisions for punishing boys only.
Its report suggests that the time of detention be increased from 15 days to 30 days and fine from Tk 5,000 to Tk 50,000.