Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has said his government will be looking into the possibility of making parental consent mandatory in love marriages, “within the ambit of the Constitution”.
Patel made the comments at a Patidar community event to felicitate students at Nugar village in Mehsana district on Sunday. “While coming (to the venue), (state Health Minister) Rushikeshbhai Patel was telling me that we should take a re-look at the cases of elopement of girls and that a study should be carried out of all (the aspects)… so that something can be done to ensure that parental consent is there in it (love marriages),” the CM said.
“If the Constitution does not become a hindrance, then we will carry out a study for that. And we will make an attempt as well so that good results can be achieved in it,” he added.
The event was organised by the Sardar Patel Group (SPG), a Patidar group that led the community’s quota agitation in 2015. It was also attended by the state’s former deputy CM, Nitin Patel, besides a number of Patidar leaders.
The CM’s announcement drew praise from opposition Congress MLA from Ahmedabad’s Jamalpur-Khadiya constituency, Imran Khedawala, who wrote to CM on Monday to offer his support to the plan. “It is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but concerns two families,” Khedawala told The Indian Express.
“The family of the girl breaks down and is not able to face the society when she runs away from the house. Parents raise their children, so their consent should be made mandatory. Many such cases have been brought to me, where girls eloped against the wishes of their parents and later regretted it.”
Khedawala demanded a Bill on the issue in the coming Monsoon Session of the Assembly and said he will support it. “It is important to bring this Bill, because children are not in control of their parents these days. They have become callous,” he said.
The CM’s Sunday announcement came four months after Khedawala’s party colleague and MLA, Geniben Thakore, echoed BJP legislator Fatesinh Chauhan’s demand in the Assembly for an amendment to the state’s marriage law to include parental consent.
The two MLAs had demanded that the Gujarat Registration of Marriages Act, 2009, be tweaked for love marriages to be registered in the same taluka where the girl lives, in the presence of local witnesses and with consent of parents.
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