ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in the National Assembly on Thursday aimed at increasing fine to Rs300,000 and imprisonment up to three years over under-age marriages.
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Kishwer Zehra moved to introduce a bill to further amend the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 (No.XXXIII of 1997) [The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2016] in the House.
The Speaker referred the bill to the concerned standing committee for further deliberation after not opposing by the treasury benches.
Narrating salient features of the bill, Kishwer Zehra said that amendments in section 5 of the Act were sought under which it was proposed that the fine and imprisonment period should be enhanced to three years from one month and Rs.300,000 from Rs.1000 respectively.
She was of the view that the existing fine and imprisonment period was insufficient to control under-age marriages in the country. The Punjab and Sindh assemblies have already passed the bill, she added.
Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Yousaf while not opposing the bill requested the chair to refer it to the concerned committee. However, he clarified that under the 1973 Constitution, no law could be made contrary to Quran and Sunnah. He said the bill needs further deliberations at Council Of Islamic Ideology (CII).
Meanwhile, the Speaker also referred the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to the concerned committee after not opposing by the government benches.
The bill was moved by Naeema Kishwer Khan in the House. Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid said it was very important bill and the mover should have consulted the treasury benches before moving it.
The Minister did not oppose the bill and requested the speaker to refer it to the committee. However, he said Pakistan Bar Council in a letter written to the government, strongly opposed any move to increase number of judges in the Apex court.