1 female MP, 30 males to consider legal marriageable age

The Child Marriage Prohibition (Amendment) Bill, introduced in Parliament in the winter session, sought to increase the legal age of marriage for women in the country from 18 to 21. The bill was based on the recommendation of a 10-member task force, led by former Samata Party leader Jaya Jaitley, to look into the feasibility of raising the legal age of marriage to increase access to education for young women and improve infant mortality. . Rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR). In December, in keeping with the government’s norm of bypassing standing committees or inviting comments from stakeholders, the Union Cabinet approved a proposal to raise the minimum age of marriage for women and the bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha.

After the opposition raised its voice against it, and the seriousness of the amendment as it would supersede all personal laws relating to marriage and have other ramifications on women, the bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth went. , and games for further discussions and discussions. Unfortunately, this referral seemed like an oversight by the ministry as the committee has 31 MPs, of whom only one is a woman.

It is quite worrying to know that there is such skewed representation in a committee which will decide the fate of the women of the country. It should perhaps also invite inquiry into why and how all men are protected in issues relating to education, sports, youth, women and children.

Parliamentary committees operate as ‘mini’ parliaments: these committees examine any bill referred to them clause by clause, invite experts and stakeholders for their input, and then submit a report. Therefore, the importance of committees and the discussion by the members is paramount, even if the government of that time thinks otherwise. However, it was disappointing to see that a bill relating to women’s issues, which would also affect families as a unit, was referred to a committee where there is an imbalance in representation. This bill will have socio-cultural and economic consequences on the country and will affect the lives of women, especially in rural India where the incidence of child marriage is high. Therefore, for deliberation and perspective to be considered from all angles, it becomes relevant that the committee conducts stakeholder-consultation at maximum capacity while ensuring inclusivity and representation of women at all levels. The Speaker may also decide through the powers given to her to invite women members to the existing Committee, to hold discussions with the Women’s Empowerment Committee or to constitute a new Select Committee with adequate representation to review the Bill. Is. Therefore, through my letter, I appeal to the Speaker to review the composition of the committee.

Finally, any bill that seems progressive does not necessarily translate to society in the same way; So a healthy bill which actually works for the betterment of the women of the country is important. We cannot pass bills or drafts in haste just to regret it at leisure. We are indebted to progressive laws for the women of this country who have long been denied equal access to opportunities and resources. Considering the sensitivity of the Bill, there is a need for extensive dialogue and discussion to empower the women of the country. Any deliberation without adequate representation of stakeholders will affect the lives of many women who have placed their faith in their elected representatives and the country’s legislative processes. So I’m hoping that this very clear skewed representation will lead to long overdue changes, including having women at the decision-making table.

(Priyanka Chaturvedi is a Rajya Sabha member and deputy leader of Shiv Sena.)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the author. The facts and opinions displayed in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV assumes no responsibility or liability for the same.

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