Kerala amends controversial marriage circular

The Kerala government has amended its controversial circular on marriage age of Muslim men and women by including a cut-off date for registering underage marriages.

The new circular, issued by the department of Local Self Government (LSG), directs local civic bodies to register such marriages held on or before June 27 if the marriages have been certified by religious regulatory authorities.

However, the government has still not addressed all the concerns raised about the original circular that ensured registration of marriages between girls aged above 16 and boys aged less than 21.

Through the new circular, the department has called for greater intent in abolishing child marriage. However, legal experts have stated that registration of such marriages — even in retrospect — is in conflict with provisions of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
The government has issued the amended circular in an effort to bring “more clarity” on its stand and address apprehensions on the impact of the circular.

Meanwhile, All India Sunni Jamiathul Ulama general secretary Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musaliyar told reporters on Friday that he supported the government’s move, and said that the permissible age of marriage for girls across religions could be fixed at 16 years.

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