After the Uttarakhand assembly’s recent passage of the state ‘Uniform Civil Code’, which enforces standardized regulations across all communities concerning marriage, divorce, inheritance, and live-in relationships, a social media post featuring a video asserting that the BJP is introducing a law allowing children aged 15 and above to engage in relationships. This article aims to fact-check the claim presented in the post.
Claim: The BJP is proposing a law that allows individuals aged 15 and above to enter into relationships.
Fact: The recent Uniform Civil Code (UCC) bill enacted by the Uttarakhand legislature mandates that girls and boys can marry at ages 18 and 21, respectively. The UCC imposes up to six months of imprisonment for individuals engaged in a marriage where either parties are below the legal marriage age. In 2021, the union government introduced The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, to increase the minimum marital age for girls from 18 to 21 years. These developments suggest that contrary to the viral claim, the BJP government is not seeking to decrease the minimum age for entering into relationships. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.
Given that the viral video bears a watermark labeled “Uniform civil code,” it is probable that the viral assertion pertains to the recent UCC legislation passed by the BJP government in Uttarakhand. However, the Uttarakhand government did not incorporate any provision reducing the minimum age to 15 years to engage in relationships, as claimed.
Uttarakhand has recently emerged as the first legislative body in the nation to approve a bill (The Uniform Civil Code of Uttarakhand, 2024) mandating uniform regulations for all communities, excluding Scheduled Tribes, regarding marriage, divorce, inheritance, and live-in relationships. Nevertheless, in contrast to the claim, the proposed legislation introduces a consistent legal structure permitting girls and boys to marry at 18 and 21, respectively.
While Muslim personal laws permit girls to marry upon reaching puberty, typically at the age of 15, the UCC, however, prohibits it. The UCC stipulates imprisonment for up to six months for individuals involved in a marriage where either or both parties are below the legal age of marriage.
The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 :
Apart from the legislation above, we have not come across any reports or discussions indicating that the ruling BJP government is considering reducing the age limit for entering relationships. Had there been any such developments, the media would have reported them. However, we could not find any such reports.
In fact, in 2021, the union government introduced The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which aims to raise the minimum marital age for girls from 18 to 21 years. The Bill seeks to amend the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, to establish parity in the minimum age of marriage for men and women, superseding all existing laws, including any custom, usage, or practice governing the parties concerning marriage.
In June 2020, the central government established a task force to explore the relationship between the age of marriage and motherhood. The committee submitted its report recommending raising the age of marriage for females to 21. While the proposed bill was referred to the Standing Committee, these developments suggest that contrary to the viral claim, the BJP government is not seeking to decrease the minimum age for entering into relationships.
To sum it up, no, the BJP is not considering any legislation to decrease the minimum age for entering into relationships to 15.