DYFI slams decision to raise women's marriage age

AA Rahim. Photo: Mathrubhumi Archives

Kochi: The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the CPM, on Saturday hit out at the Union Cabinet's decision to raise the marriage age for women, saying it was an attempt to curtail personal liberty.

The Union Cabinet had on Wednesday cleared a proposal to bring in uniformity in the marriageable age of men and women and is likely to bring a bill in the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament to amend the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

DYFI national President, A A Rahim, in a series of tweets, said the ruling dispensation has displayed an unhealthy obsession with the marriage choices of people.

"DYFI disagrees with the Union Cabinet's decision to raise the age of marriage for girls. There are strong reasons to suspect malfeasance on the part of the Union Govt; their track record, actions & utterances make a case," he tweeted.

Rahim said, if parity and gender equality were the goals, the Union Government should have reduced the marriage age, as the 18th Law Commission had recommended. He said instead the government have opted to meet the demands in the petitions filed by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay before the Supreme Court.

"We believe that it is one more effort targeting choice marriages. The ruling dispensation has so far displayed an unhealthy obsession with the marriage choices of people. They've never hesitated to encroach on personal freedoms & often turned a blind eye towards vigilante groups," Rahim said.

The proposed bill may also seek to make consequential changes to various personal laws relating to marriage of different communities to ensure a uniform marriage age, according to him.

As of now, the legal age of women to get married is 18 while that for men is 21 years.

"We should not underestimate the complexity of the issues involved, just because the government has cloaked it as "women empowerment". Their doublespeak needs to be exposed and the move must be criticized for what it is; an attempt to curtail personal liberty," Rahim said.

The decision by the Union government came a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the government was deliberating on what should be the minimum age for marriage of women.

The decision is based on the recommendation of a four-member task force led by former Samata Party chief Jaya Jaitly. PTI

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