Assam government repeals Muslim Marriage Act, terms it ‘obsolete’

The government has stated that this is another step towards bringing in the Uniform Civil Code in the state
Image Courtesy:

On February 23rd, the BJP-led Assam government has repealed the Muslim Marriage Act and the Divorce Registration Act, 1935. Muslims who were under the purview of this law for almost one-third of its population at 35%. On Friday, in the late evening along with Cabinet Ministers, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that they have repealed the 88 years old Assam Muslim Marriages and Divorce Registration Act, 1935. 

Earlier, after Uttarakhand announced it had implemented the Uniform Civil Code in its state, Himanta Biswa Sarma had chimed in and promised he would issue it too in Assam. 

Himanta Biswa Sarma posted the following on social media site X, after the meeting, “On 23.2.2024, the Assam cabinet made a significant decision to repeal the age-old Assam Muslim Marriages & Divorces Registration Act. This act contained provisions allowing marriage registration even if the bride and groom had not reached the legal ages of 18 and 21, as required by law. This move marks another significant step towards prohibiting child marriages in Assam.”

Assam Cabinet Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah in a press briefing talked about the repeal of Assam Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act 1935 and giving a nod to the UCC. Baruah termed it as a “very important decision”, and said, “The honourable chief minister has already said that we are going towards Uniform Civil Code, therefore a very important decision has been taken today, that The Assam Muslim Marriage & Divorce Registration Act, 1935, will be repealed and no Muslim marriage or divorce will be registered under the Act. We want all such matters to be under the Special Marriage Act.” He also termed the Act as a colonial act that lost its significance in today’s society. He further criticised the act, claiming that it allowed for child marriage, and argued that the BJP led government had long aimed to drive out child marriage, saying, “It provides scope to register marriage before the permissible age of 21 for male and 18 for female.” 

The now repealed Act which previously had authorised 94 registrars to oversee marriage or divorce registrations has been reportedly replaced by the Special Marriage Act, according to the Assam government. The state will now take over the 94 registrars that were previously working with the now repealed Act. The state government has reportedly offered them a one-time financial compensation of Rs 2 lakh.

As part of the state government’s crackdown on child marriage, last September the Assam police had arrested more than 3000 people, majority of who belong to Bengali speaking Muslims, as part of the FIR against the 4000 plus FIR. The act was questioned by the Guwahati High Court while granting anticipatory bail to nine men. 

In February 2023, in response to a petition, Justice Suman Shyam observed, orally, that the charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) and rape charges against those accused of child marriage are “absolutely weird” allegations. “There are children, family members, old people… obviously it is a bad idea,” The judge condemned the state government as he granted anticipatory bail to the petitioners. 


Assam: Post by chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma casteist, promotes oppression?

Targeting free choice in marriage, ‘Love Jihad’ clause likely in bill to ban polygamy: Assam

 Uttarakhand: Women’s groups reject UCC say provisions are unconstitutional, criminalises constitutional behavior, Muslims



Related Articles