In a move that is likely to spark controversy, the Assam government has banned second marriages for all government employees, even if their religion allows it. The new rule, which came into effect on October 20, 2023, requires government employees to obtain permission from the government before getting married again.
The decision to ban second marriages was taken after the government found several cases where Muslim men had married two women and later both wives fought for the pension of the same person. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the new law was necessary to protect the interests of government employees and their families.
The new law is a reminder of an Assam government service rule that was instituted 58 years ago, which bars government employees from marrying a second time without the government’s consent as long as the first spouse is alive. The rule is applicable even to men permitted by personal law to have a bigamous marriage.
The new law is also applicable to female government employees, who are not allowed to marry any person who has a husband living without first obtaining the permission of the government.
The Assam government’s decision to ban second marriages for government employees is likely to be met with resistance from some sections of society, but it is a step in the right direction. The law will help to protect the interests of government employees and their families, and it will also help to reduce the number of polygamy cases in the state.