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Govt to have re-look at circular on Muslim wedding age

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Govt to have re-look at circular on Muslim wedding age
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Thiruvananthapuram: With a recent circular on Muslim marriage age triggering a raging debate in Kerala, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said government would take a re-look at it and come out with clarifications as the order's true intent had been "misunderstood" and "misinterpreted."

He was replying to queries on the circular issued by the state Local Self Governance department, allowing civic authorities to legally register the marriage of Muslim girls above 16 years of age.

"The purpose of the circular is not to reduce the Muslim marriage age (from 18 in the case of women and 21 in the case of men). But we will examine the circular and come out with necessary clarifications and explanations since it has been misunderstood," Chandy said.

He said the circular was intended to give relief to those who had already married and its provisions are not applicable in future marriage. However, reports and debates in the media had created a wrong impression about it.

Chandy, however, discounted the possibility of the circular being withdrawn entirely.

Left parties and their women and youth outfits have come out strongly against the circular, alleging it was meant to reduce the marriage age by circumventing legislations passed by Parliament and the orders on the Apex Court on the matter.

The Department had, however, justified the circular on the ground that it was meant to overcome difficulties posed to Muslim couples, who were already married, in getting passports and other documents for migration to foreign countries for work.

The circular assumed a political dimension as Local Self Governance department is under Indian Union Muslim League, the second largest partner in the ruling coalition led by the Congress.

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