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Gujarat Govt To Study Possibility Of Making Parental Approval Mandatory For Love Marriages: CM Bhupendra Patel

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel made the statement in response to demands raised by sections of the state's influential Patidar community.

Bhupendra Patel takes oath as Gujarat CM
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Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has said the government would study if parental approval could be made mandatory for all love marriages.  

Patel made the statement in response to demands raised by sections of the state's influential Patidar community. 

In a rare move of bipartisanship, Congress MLA Imran Khedawala supported Patel on this. This is not the first time that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Opposition Congress have found common ground in restricting marriage rights. In March, when BJP MLA Fatehsinh Chauhan made a similar demand, Congress MLA Geni Thakore also raised a similar demand. 

Addressing an event in Mehsana on Sunday by the Sardar Patel Group, an outfit representing the Patidar community, Patel said Gujarat Health Minister Rushikesh Patel told him to get a study done into the incidents of girls eloping for marriage so that a system is created where the consent of parents is made mandatory for marriages, reported PTI. 

"(Patel) told me to look afresh and carry out a study into the incidents of elopement of girls so as to see if there is a possibility of (mandatory) consent of parents into (love marriages). If the Constitution supports it, then we will carry out a study regarding this and try to get the best result for this," said Patel, as per PTI. 

Congress MLA Khedawala supported the proposed regulation of love marriages and said that "parents are neglected in love marriages", according to PTI.

Khedawala said, "At a time when parents are neglected in love marriages, the government is thinking of creating a specific system regarding love marriages that is constitutionally feasible...The CM has assured to get a study conducted on mandatory parental approval in love marriages. The chief minister has spoken about this. If the government brings such law in the assembly session, then my support is with the government."

In March, Gujarat BJP MLA Fatehsinh Chauhan linked love marriages to crimes and said making parental approval mandatory would reduce the crime rate in the state.

The Times of India quoted Chauhan as saying at the time that if love marriages are registered with parental approval, the crime rate would come down by 50 per cent.

Chauhan said, "Marriages solemnised without the consent of parents add to the crime rate in the state and if such marriages are registered with the consent of parents, the crime rate would come down by 50 per cent. Court marriages are registered not in the respective area but other districts. The boy and girls hide their documents and marry in other districts and later either the girl suffers, or the parents have to commit suicide. Parents who are busy because of their professions cannot take care of their girls and hence anti-socials take advantage of this and elope with girls."

During the same discussion in Gujarat assembly, Congress MLA Geni Thakore made a similar demand "to ensure that no boys who do not get girls for marriage or have criminal backgrounds lure girls and marry them". She added that this leads to harassment of girls. 

"We are not against love marriage but we want the change to ensure that no boys who do not get girls for marriage or have criminal backgrounds lure girls and marry them and as this leads to harassment of the girl who has to suffer in the end. We want that the marriage procession should come to the girl's house as is customary and hence we want an amendment in the act which should make it compulsory to marry the girl in her village and to ensure the registration is done in the taluka where she stays and the witnesses should be from her own village only," said Thakore, as per The Times of India. 

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