MPs call for a new marriage act
The majority of MPs in the National Assembly submitted that the Marriage Act of Bhutan be rewritten in its entirety after the house’s Women, Children and Youth Committee proposed on 21 November that 16 clauses of the act be amended.
Panbang MP Dorji Wangdi submitted that the act is outdated as it was written in the 1980s.
He said, “It is time to frame a new marriage act as well as an inheritance act as the two acts are interlinked.”
He added that the marriage act, as it stands today, is difficult to be interpreted not only by the common people but also by legal professionals.
Foreign Minister Damcho Dorji echoed Dorji Wangdi’s view that it was better to write a new act as even lawyers found it difficult to interpret it.
Chumey-Ura MP, Tshewang Jurmi, the chairperson of the committee, reported that the committee had conducted a broad discussion with more than 30 participants from 18 agencies. He said that the committee had proposed amendments after comprehensive research of the Marriage Act, Child Protection Act and the Penal Code.
The committee was confident to frame a new law as it had done all the ground work.
Some amendments the committee had proposed earlier included child support allowance, separation cost payable by the person committing cruelty and responsibility for the upbringing of illegitimate child of the deceased mother.
Finance Minister and Opposition Leader also supported the framing of a new marriage act in the next session.
Khar-Yurung MP, Dasho Zanglay Drukpa, said, “It will have productive and valuable results in the next session by collecting people’s view.”
Tshewang Jurmi submitted that since the marriage act is one of the most used acts amending it would have huge benefits for society.
The committee will move a motion for the third reading in the ninth session with a proposal to amend the act in its entirety.
For now, 46 clauses of the Marriage Act were amended in 1996, six clauses in 2005, one clause in 2006 and 10 clauses in 2009.