Gujarat Aims To Involve Parental Consent In Love Marriages After Studying “Issue”

The Chief Minister of the State Bhupendra Patel cited that he will be studying the issue so that parental consent can be involved “within the ambit of the constitution.”

In what has been pretty concerning news, two MLAs had demanded that the Gujarat Registration of Marriages Act, 2009 should be amended, with introducing certain conditions for the registration of love marriages. The specificity here requires registration of the marriage in the same taluka where the girl is living and also within the presence of local witnesses and with the consent of parents. The Chief Minister of the State Bhupendra Patel cited that he will be studying the issue so that parental consent can be involved “within the ambit of the constitution.”

From his statements at an event, the concern arose to understand the reasons for the increasing numbers of girls who elope for marriage. Other points that were brought up included that the family breaks down when girls run away, parents have lost control over their children, and so on. A lot of things need to be put plainly here. One, within the present discourse, there is nothing such as elopement and marrying. The term that is used is “choice marriage” as adults are fully capable of making their decisions for their lives.

Secondly, while the statement from the minister points towards the location of honor within the girl of a family and their marriage; why is there no consideration for the girl’s or individual’s agency? And thirdly, even The Special Marriage Act in India has received its fair share of criticism over its requirement of registration of marriage which requires a 30 days notice period. The notice period is a space where disapproving families and communities can exploit and endanger the life of the people involved. The same has been criticized even by the current Chief Justice DY Chandrachud.

At a time when India is waiting for a verdict regarding the constitutionality of queer marriages, and its wider application for marriage equality for the queer community in India, Gujarat is going backwards. Parental policing of children even when they step into adulthood has been a feature of Indian society and strengthening that through law and through community power (especially in rural areas) will end up curtailing the freedom of choice and agency for the youth. Queer youth, inter-caste couples, and interfaith couples will face the worst of it as they will have to go against their family, community, and the law if parental consent is made mandatory for love marriages.

This story was about: Feminism Gender Law Parenting

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Rajeev completed their under graduation in Political Science Hons. from Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi in 2020. They graduated with Masters in Women’s Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai in 2022 and were a participant at the International Writing Program’s Summer Institute, University of Iowa for the 2021-22 session. They have been the recipient of Mavelinadu Collective’s grant for non-fiction for the first issue of Debrahminising Gender. Their work can be found in EPW, Women’s Link Journal, Shuddhashar, Gaysi Family, Feminism in India and Hindu College Gazette among others. Their research interests include queer experiences, feminist ethics of care, and masculinities.

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