Assam to Repeal Muslim Marriage, Divorce Registration Law: Implications and Changes Ahead

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (News18)

Calling the Act as “age-old,” Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said that this decision marks a step towards prohibiting child marriages in the state

In a significant move, the Assam Cabinet on Friday annulled the Assam Muslim Marriage and Divorce Registration Act, 1935, signaling a shift towards implementing a Uniform Civil Code in the state.

Calling the Act as “age-old,” Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that this decision marks a step towards prohibiting child marriages in the state.

“On 23.22024, the Assam cabinet made a significant decision to repeal the age-old Assam Muslim Marriages & Divorces Registration Act. This act contained provisions allowing marriage registration even if the bride and groom had not reached the legal ages of 18 and 21, as required by law. This move marks another significant step towards prohibiting child marriages in Assam,” Himanta Biswa Sarma wrote in a social media post on X.

Assam minister Jayanta Malla Baruah acknowledged that the decision aligns with the state’s efforts to implement the Uniform Civil Code in the state, Hindustan Times reported.

Earlier this month, Uttarakhand became the first state in the country to pass the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the assembly; making laws on marriage, divorce, and inheritance the same for every individual in the state.


Currently, the law allows for the voluntary registration of Muslim marriages and divorces, empowering the Assam government to issue licenses to Muslim individuals for registering these marriages and divorces in the state.

Upon the repeal of this law, those individuals will no longer have the ability to register marriages and divorces.

Additionally, the state’s district commissioners and district registrars will take over the custody of registration records currently held by 94 Muslim Marriage Registrars. To aid in their rehabilitation following the repeal, the government will provide a one-time compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to Muslim Marriage Registrars.

Jayanta Malla Baruah asserted that with the repeal, the state aims to transition all marriages, regardless of religion, to be registered under the provisions of the Special Marriage Act.

“We already have a Special Marriage Act, and we want all marriages to be registered under provisions of that,” Baruah said.

Baruah described the repealed law as “not in line with today’s society,” emphasising that the decision is part of the state government’s commitment to combating child marriage.

“Through this (Act), we would also see underage marriages being registered – of boys below 21 years or girls below 18 years. So this is a big step towards us being able to completely eradicate child marriage,” he added.

As per the 2011 Census, Muslims make up 34 per cent of Assam’s population, totaling 1.06 crore out of the overall population of 3.12 crore.

Earlier this month, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma announced the introduction of a bill to abolish polygamy in the state during the Budget session. This declaration followed the CM’s statement weeks ago that Assam would become the third state, after Uttarakhand and Gujarat, to implement a Uniform Civil Code.

“The Assam cabinet has discussed both the anti-polygamy and UCC bills. We were working on the anti-polygamy bill while Uttarakhand passed the UCC. An expert committee is working on aligning the two aspects so we can bring a more robust legislation,” Sarma had said during the session.

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