Legal marriage age for girls proposed at 16 years under ‘special circumstances’


State Minister Meher Afroze Chumki has said her ministry has drafted a law and sent it to the law ministry for vetting.

The draft of the Child Marriage Prevention Act 2014 has a sub-section that proposes considering the legal marriage age for girls at 16 years under ‘special circumstances’.

Explaining the ‘special circumstances’, the minister told an interactive meeting in Dhaka on Sunday that the government was thinking about keeping the legal marriage age for girls at 16 years in cases when a girl elopes with a man and refuses to return or becomes pregnant before marriage.

A platform of organisations to prevent oppression by families organised the meeting titled ‘Child Marriage: Reviewing the Situation’.

When the government said it was planning to lower the legal marriage age for girls a year ago, it was met with howls of protests by the women rights organisations.

Bangladesh Mohila Parishad chief Ayesha Khanam had told another meeting attended by Chumki that lowering the minimum legal age for girls to marry would not be accepted and all conditions on this would have to be scrapped.

After that meeting in July, reporters asked the state minister if there would be any condition along with the provision to keep the minimum age for girls to marry at 18 years in the law.

“I am telling you to write only that the legal marriage age for girls will be kept at 18 years. Please do not write anything more,” Chumki replied.



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