JS body opposes lowering minimum age for marriage

Siddiqur Rahman Khan

A parliamentary body on Tuesday opposed a bill approved in principle by the cabinet seeking enactment of a law lowering the minimum age for marriage to 16 years from the existing 18 years for female.
The parliamentary standing committee on women and children affairs ministry at a meeting held at the Jatiya Sangad Bhaban discussed the move and decided that the committee members would meet the prime minister soon to know the causes of lowering the minimum age of female for marriage.
The cabinet on September 15 approved in principle the Child Marriage Restraint Bill 2014 lowering the minimum age for marriage to 16 years and 18 years for female and male respectively.
If enacted, the bill would repeal the existing Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, which stipulates that no female under 18 years and no male under 21 years would be eligible for marriage.
Committee member Rifat Amin, who raised the question in the meeting, told New Age that the committee members agreed that it would not be wise to lower the minimum age of female 16 years for marriage.
Committee chairman Rebeka Momin chaired the meeting attended by its members Md Mozammel Hossain, Nasrin Zahan Ratna, Monwara Begum and Rifat Amin attended.
Rights activists and women organisations, meanwhile, have expressed grave concern at the government plan to lower the minimum age for marriage.
They demanded that the bill must be scrapped as various international legal instruments and the Children Act 2013 of the country defined child as a person below the age of 18 years.

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