Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma recently received a panel report, taking a decisive step forward in the fight against polygamy in India. The panel headed by retired judge Rumi Kumari Phukan and comprising eminent lawyers and advocates was tasked with assessing the legislative competence of the Assam State legislature to abolish polygamy.
Promoting Women’s Empowerment
A significant aspect of this development is the emphasis on women’s empowerment. Chief Minister Sarma believes that abolishing polygamy will create a positive ecosystem for women, irrespective of their caste, creed, or religion.
The ban on polygamy aligns with the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), which the Central Government has been trying to implement. CM Sarma aims to take polygamy, a component of the UCC, and ban it immediately. Will this lead to a societal transformation? Through consensus and harmonious efforts, the Chief Minister seeks just that.
What does the panel report suggest about the legislative capabilities of the state? According to the expert committee, the Assam State Government has the competence to enact a law against polygamy. In addition, the committee believes the President of India, not the State Governor, should assent such an Act. This significant revelation proves to be a key turning point in the movement against polygamy in Assam.
The panel’s report also addressed the age of marriage, an issue currently unregulated by the Muslim Marriage Law of 1936 in Assam. Balancing this discrepancy with the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, the committee suggested incorporating the relevant provisions of the POCSO Act into the proposed anti-polygamy Act.
Despite not having reviewed the report thoroughly, the Chief Minister has confirmed that the law against polygamy will come into effect within this financial year. However, presentation, discussion, and enactment of this potential bill in the State Assembly may require more time and careful deliberation. Regardless of potential variables like the enforcement of the UCC in the meantime, Assam looks ahead towards a significant stride in women’s empowerment and societal reform.
The reception of the panel report marks a crucial step towards abolishing polygamy in Assam. Despite possible hurdles and differing opinions, the Assam government seeks to forge ahead with this transformative legislation.