Gujarat is mulling bringing in a law under which parental nod will be mandated for love marriages. State Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said the constitutional feasibility of the possibility of such a rule was being studied by the government.
The CM was speaking at an event of Patidar community in Mehsana. He said state Health Minister Rushikesh Patel had told him to get a study done into the incidents of girls eloping for marriage, so that a system is created where the consent of parents is made mandatory (for marriages).
Patel was responding to a demand for such a rule by certain sections of the Patidar community.
“(Patel) told me to look afresh and carry out a study into the incidents of elopement of girls so as to see if there is a possibility of (mandatory) consent of parents into (love marriages). If the Constitution supports it, then we will carry out a study regarding this and try to get the best result for this,” he said.
Surprisingly, the proposition was supported by a legislator of the opposition Congress Imran Khedawala. He said if the government introduced any such legislation in the assembly, he would support it.
“At a time when parents are neglected in love marriages, the government is thinking of creating a specific system regarding love marriages that is constitutionally feasible,” MLA Khedawala said.
“The CM has assured to get a study conducted on mandatory parental approval in love marriages. If the government brings such a law in the assembly session, then my support is with the government,” he said.
The clamour for parental control on marriage has been around in Gujarat for quite some time.
The state government in 2021 amended the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act that penalises forcible or fraudulent religious conversion by marriage.
Under the amended Act, there is a provision of up to 10 years’ imprisonment if a person is found guilty.
The Gujarat High Court later stayed certain contentious sections of the Act and its order was challenged in the Supreme Court, where it is pending.
In March, Gujarat BJP MLA Fatehsinh Chauhan linked love marriages to crimes and said making parental approval mandatory would reduce the crime rate in the state.
Chauhan had said if love marriages were registered with parental approval, the crime rate would come down by 50 per cent.
During the same discussion in Gujarat assembly, Congress MLA Geni Thakore made a similar demand “to ensure that no boys who do not get girls for marriage or have criminal backgrounds lure girls and marry them”. She added that this leads to harassment of girls.
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