In the Supreme Court, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition was filed challenging the constitutional validity of Section 8 of the Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Marriages (Amendment) Bill, 2021, inasmuch as it allows for the registration of child marriages. Last Monday, the Rajasthan State Assembly approved the aforementioned bill to modify a 2009 Act [Rajasthan Compulsory Registration of Weddings Act], which requires marriages, including child marriages, to be registered. Parties must submit a Memorandum for Registration of Marriage to the Registrar within whose jurisdiction the marriage is solemnised, according to Section 8 of the 2009 Act.
In essence, both the 2009 Act and the proposed amendment to the Act make child marriage registration mandatory, with the only difference being that the age mentioned in the 2009 Act was 21 years for both boys and girls, whereas the amendment bill seeks to differentiate between the bride and bridegroom’s ages. Until, the process stipulated that if the parties (bride or groom) were under the age of 21, their parents or guardians would have to submit the memoranda. However, if the amendment bill becomes law, it will be the responsibility of the bride’s or groom’s parents or guardians to submit the memorandum if the bride is under the age of 18 and/or the groom is under the age of 21.
The petition was filed by the ‘Youth Bar Association of India,’ a group of India’s public-spirited, youthful, and alert advocates. The organisation is also registered under the Society Registration Act of 1860, and it is often engaged in public welfare issues.
It was also argued that, although the petitioner is not opposed to marriage registration in general, allowing the registration of “child weddings” would create a “hazardous scenario” and may enable cases of child abuse.
“Our country is a ‘welfare state,’ and the government has a responsibility to strive for the nation’s welfare. Children, who also happen to represent a developing country’s resources, must be prioritised.” “It was also stated that