Author: ASEEL BASHRAHEELTue, 2018-01-09 03:00ID: 1515449185784358200
RIYADH: A panel of Shoura Council has asked that marriage contracts for girls under 18 be restricted to the competent (family affairs) courts.
The request was contained in a series of recommendations presented by the Committee of Islamic and Judiciary Affairs on a study related to underage (minors) marriage at the Shoura Council’s 9th ordinary session on Monday.
The committee further asked the Ministry of Health to accept pre-marital tests for girls under 18 only when requested by a competent court. It also urged both the Ministries of Culture and Information and Islamic Affairs to take necessary steps to spread awareness on the harmful effects of minors’ marriage.
Shoura Council lady member Dr. Eqbal Darandari told Arab News: “The committee acceded to have those under 18 submit their marriage contracts, as well as a pre-marital tests to a competent court to determine their case.
“Some Shoura members disagreed with this decision because they believed it meant we condone underage marriage. Others suggested that only those between the ages of 16-18 can transfer their cases to a judge, and those below 16 cannot get married. Some members demanded this be applied to underage boys, as well.”
Darandari revealed that she is among those who believe there needed to be an age limit to underage girls’ marriages. “Many countries have legalized marriages to 16 year olds so I see no harm in girls getting married at that age. Not to mention, girls’ voices must be heard and their opinions taken into consideration. I don’t believe a pre-marital test is enough. In my opinion, I think we need a female committee — made of a doctor, lawyer, psychologist and social worker — that studies the girl’s state in order to assess whether or not she can get married.”
“Those that are fifteen or younger can undergo severe physical and psychological damage through marriage, and they’re probably unequipped for it. I believe there should be sanctions to those who do not adhere to that, and in the case of a marriage during that delicate age, a girl’s right to demand a divorce if things don’t work out should be guaranteed.”
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