Kerala withdraws ‘controversial’ circular on marriage age

Thiruvananthapuram, June 28 (IANS) The Kerala government Friday issued a new circular replacing an earlier one issued recently, clarifying that the marriageable age for Muslim girls is 18, and men 21.

The previous circular that raised a hue and cry directed the local self government authorities to register marriages of Muslim males aged below 21 and females aged below 18, but over 16, and issue them marriage certificates.

However, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy clarified that the earlier circular was not meant for any exemption for new marriages. It was only for regularising marriages of men under 21 years old and girls below 18 but over 16 that had already been solemnised.

The new circular issued Friday clearly states that for all Muslim marriages that have been solemnised until Thursday, men under 21 and women above 16 but under 18 would be issued the necessary marriage registration certificates.

Incidentally, registration of all marriages at the respective local bodies was made compulsory from 2008.

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