Assam Government's Surprising Move: No Second Marriages Without Permission
Assam's government restricts second marriages, mulls polygamy ban, and cracks down on child marriages. A transformative move in the making
Assam, a state located in the northeastern region of India, has seen a significant decision made by its Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, regarding the regulations for second marriages among state government employees. The recent proclamation has reignited discussions surrounding polygamy and child marriages in the state.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, in a recent statement, emphasised that any state government employee desiring to enter into a second marriage must seek official approval first. This is not a new rule but has been a part of existing guidelines which, for reasons unknown, weren't enforced in the past. However, under the current government's initiative, there's a determined push to ensure these guidelines are adhered to. This action aligns with the government's broader mission to counteract polygamy in the state.
One might wonder about the reasons behind such a decision. The Chief Minister provided some clarity by mentioning the challenges that arise after the demise of a government employee who has multiple wives. Disputes over pension rights among the wives can become a significant concern, leading to internal strife and administrative complications.
Moreover, September witnessed the Chief Minister announcing plans to present a bill aiming to ban polygamy altogether. A substantial majority, 146 out of 149 people consulted, were in agreement with this proposed initiative. To ensure a comprehensive approach, a committee led by Devajit Lon Saikia, the Advocate General of Assam, has been established. Their role? To draft a bill that not only focuses on polygamy but also addresses other pressing concerns like inter-religious marriages under false identities and the involvement of Kazis in child marriages.
Speaking of child marriages, Assam has been very proactive in this realm as well. A large-scale operation was launched early October, which led to the arrest of over 3,900 individuals involved in child marriages. This rigorous action by the state police was, however, met with political resistance. The Congress party voiced concerns, suggesting that the focus should be on more recent incidents rather than penalising those who had been married for several years.
Assam is undergoing a transformation, attempting to ensure that societal norms and practices align with legal frameworks and the overall welfare of its citizens. Whether these measures will achieve the desired impact remains to be seen, but what's clear is the government's intent to usher in a change.