Asaduddin Owaisi Mamata

Decision To Raise Women’s Marriage Age From 18 to 21 ‘Ridiculous’: Owaisi

Asaduddin Owaisi Mamata

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President and Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Friday slammed the Central government for their decision to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 and termed it “ridiculous”.

Taking to Twitter, Owaisi said that both men and women should be allowed to legally marry at 18 as they’re treated as adults by the law for all other purposes.
“Modi government has decided to increase the age of marriage for women to 21. This is typical paternalism that we have come to expect from the govt. 18-year-old men and women can sign contracts, start businesses, choose Prime Ministers and elect MPs and MLAs but not marry? They can consent to sexual relationships and live-in partnerships but cannot choose their life partners? Just ridiculous,” said AIMIM chief.

He allegedly said that there are 12 million kids married before they even turned 10.

“Child marriages are rampant despite a law. Every fourth woman in India was married before turning 18 but only 785 criminal cases of child marriages were recorded. If child marriages have reduced from before, it is due to education and economic progress, not criminal law,” he said.

Owaisi said that more than the legal age of marriage, it is improved education and better economic prospects for youngsters, that impacts when they marry. 45 per cent of the poorest households had child marriages; only 10 per cent of the wealthiest households did so.

“If Modi was sincere, he would have focused on increasing economic opportunities for women. Yet India is the only country where women’s participation in the workforce is dwindling. It fell to 16% in 2020 from 26 per cent in 2005,” he added.

He further said that it is essential to improve their educational outcomes to ensure autonomous decision-making.

“What has the government done to improve education for girls? 79 per cent of Rs 446.72 Beti Bachao Beti Padhao budget was spent on adverts. You want us to believe that this government has sincere intentions?” he asked.

He added that men and women are treated as adults at 18 for most critical things. “Why is marriage any different? The legal age is not really a criteria; the essential goal must be to ensure education, economic progress and human development,” he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21. The government is likely to propose a bill in Parliament during the ongoing winter session. (ANI)

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