Assam govt repeals Muslim Marriage act

Assam govt repeals Muslim Marriage act

News: Assam’s government has decided to repeal the Assam Muslim Marriage and Divorce Registration Act, 1935.

Background:
• The Act is in line with the Muslim personal law. It lays down the process for registration of Muslim marriages and divorces.
• The Act authorizes the state to grant licenses to “any person, being a Muslim” to register marriages and divorces, with Muslim registrars deemed to be public servants.
• A 2010 amendment replaced the word ‘voluntary’ in the original Act with ‘compulsory’, making registration of Muslim marriages and divorces compulsory in the state of Assam.

What is the reason behind repealing the act?
• Child Marriages: The Act contained provisions allowing marriage registration even if the bride and groom had not reached the legal ages of 18 and 21 respectively. The repeal is seen as a significant step towards prohibiting child marriages in Assam.
• Obsolete Act: The Act, being a pre-independence Act of the British era, was considered obsolete. The registration machinery in the Act was informal, leaving a lot of scope for non-compliance with extant norms.
• Misuse by Kazis: Many kazis were reportedly misusing their power, often enabling the marrying of minors and divorce without grounds.
• Uniform Civil Code (UCC): The decision also comes a fortnight after BJP-ruled Uttarakhand became the first state in the country to introduce a Uniform Civil Code. Assam’s decision to repeal the Act is seen as a step towards implementing the UCC.

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