Assam Takes Stride Toward UCC as Himanta’s Cabinet Repeals Outdated Muslim Marriage Act

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GG News Bureau
Guwahati, 26th Feb.
 The Assam Cabinet has taken a bold step towards combating child marriage within the state by repealing the antiquated ‘Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act, 1935.’ Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma hailed this decision as a significant advancement in the ongoing efforts to eradicate child marriages in Assam.

The decision, announced on February 23, marks a pivotal moment in Assam’s legislative landscape. The repealed act had provisions allowing marriage registration even if the individuals involved had not attained the legal ages of 18 and 21, as mandated by law. Chief Minister Sarma emphasized the importance of this move in furthering the state’s commitment to prohibiting child marriages.

Sarma posted on X, “On 23.22024, the Assam cabinet made a significant decision to repeal the age-old Assam Muslim Marriages & 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.”

 

In the wake of the repeal, the state government outlined plans for the transition of registration records currently held by 94 Muslim Marriage Registrars. District Commissioners and District Registrars will assume custody of these records under the supervision of the Inspector General of Registration.

With Muslims comprising 34% of Assam’s population, totaling 1.06 crore individuals according to the 2011 Census, the repeal carries significant implications for the state’s social fabric.

Additionally, the Assam Government has announced a one-time compensation of ₹2 lakh for Muslim Marriage Registrars to aid in their rehabilitation following the repeal of the Act.

State Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah emphasized the historic nature of this decision, framing it as a crucial step towards realizing a Uniform Civil Code in the state. The government cited the outdated nature of the colonial-era law, originally formulated for the Province of Assam, as the primary rationale behind its repeal.

Furthermore, the state government highlighted the deficiencies of the repealed Act, noting its informal registration mechanisms and lack of mandatory compliance with legal norms. The Act’s provisions also left room for registering marriages involving individuals below the legal marriageable ages, with inadequate monitoring mechanisms in place.

The repeal of the ‘Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorces Registration Act, 1935’ underscores Assam’s commitment to modernizing its legal framework and safeguarding the rights and well-being of its citizens, particularly vulnerable segments of society.

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