Child marriage among Muslims in Kerala
The issue of child marriage among Muslims in Kerala was addressed by a circular issued on 14 June 2013 by the social-welfare department of the Indian Union Muslim League (part of Kerala's ruling United Democratic Front (UDF)). The circular instructs marriage registrars to register Muslim marriages even if the parties have not attained the age fixed by the Child Marriage Act. Political parties and Muslim women's organisations have said that this would encourage child marriages. Following an amendment, only underage marriages occurring before 28 June 2013 could be registered. Nine prominent Muslim organisations in Kerala took legal action seeking exemption from the community marriage-age restrictions, saying that the minimum marriage age for women (fixed at 18 by the Child Marriage Act) as well as its Supreme Court endorsement infringe on the Muslim law.
- While bulk of the marriages involved Muslim girls, others have also not eschewed the social evil. For instance, in 2008, while 4,249 of the 4,955 brides in the child marriages were Muslims, 339 were Scheduled Castes, 55 were Scheduled Tribe girls and 312 from other communities.
Progressive Muslim thinker Prof M N Karassery told Deccan Herald that the figures were stunning. “Right from the beginning, a section of Muslim were against fixing an age limit for marriage of girls saying that the religion did not permit such a condition. However, the Muslim community in the State was believed to have been on the path of self-realisation that early marriage for girls would affect their employment, social life and future ,” he said.
- Child marriages high in kerala, R Gopakumar, Deccan Herald, in India Child Rights Index - Enakshi Ganguly Thukral, Parul Thukral · 2011
- Kerala is the only state where child marriage rates have increased in recent years, particularly in its Muslim community.
- FACETS OF CONTEMPORARY HISTORY - 385 M. Thilakavathy, R.K. Maya · 2019