Taking a cue from BJP-ruled states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, the Assam government has started working on a law which will help bring tremendous transparency in the institution of marriage. Unlike the ordinances promulgated in UP and MP with a single-point focus of curbing the menace of love jihad and related forced conversions, the BJP government in Assam has committed to a law which while putting an end to love jihad, will also make the institution of marriage highly transparent. The said law, HimantaBiswaSarma informed, will be brought after the BJP comes to power subsequent to assembly elections in the state early next year.
While informing that the said law will not resemble the single-point concentrated laws of UP and MP, the all-important Assam minister also said that it will obviously have some elements from the laws enacted by the said states. The law will basically make it mandatory for to-be husband and wives in the state to disclose crucial information such as religion, jobs, income and other facts which a couple must be aware of. HimantaBiswaSarma also said that the said laws are being drafted for the purpose of empowering women in the state.
“Obviously, it will have an element of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh where you have to disclose your religion and you cannot hide your religion on social media. But this act will bring full transparency between husband and wife which includes their religion and it will have a legal entity,” Himanta Biswa Sarma said. “Now, Assam is up for elections in the next four months and so we should not bring a legislature at the fate of our term,” he added.
The Assam minister, while cautiously gauging his words, also said, “This is an issue I will not say Love Jihad. My whole submission is that you should not enter into a married life if there is no transparency between the husband and wife. It is important to disclose – what is my religion, what I do, how much do I earn. I am not saying that you should only disclose your religion. I think you should also disclose your income, members of your family, what is your business. Because many times, the girl enters into marriage even if they are from the same religion and later on, the girl realizes that her husband is doing some wrong business.”
The said laws will be unique once passed by the state assembly of Assam, as they, while definitely curbing love jihad, will also make the information disclosed prior to marriages as having legal value. This would in itself be pathbreaking. Essentially, the institution of marriage will be made fraud and cheating free. The disclosure of information will go a long way in ensuring that the women are well aware of where they are headed in their married life and that nobody is fooling them into believing something that is false.
Meanwhile, Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the law will not be brought in by the government now, as it may be construed as a move by the BJP bearing electoral agendas. That the minister has committed to bringing the transparency laws in the BJP government’s second term in itself shows how confident the party is of winning Assam, which goes to polls early next year.