Whether it is in attempts to stay relevant or to get its name in news bites, the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has stated that awareness campaigns against child marriages, instead of the government’s recent Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2018 is the way to go about stopping the problem of underage marriages. The stated reason, that the legislation will only serve to add more “complications” is utterly devoid of all sense and logic. What these complications are is not clear considering that the government has essentially made the matter very simple; child marriages are now to be penalised by law. If this will not stop the problem what will?

It is also altogether strange that the CII has made this pronouncement while opposing child marriages in principle; it essentially agrees with the government’s stance but strangely enough, does not agree with the proposed solution.

What this tells us is that the irrelevant members of the Council do not want to take the indefensible stance of supporting child marriages but are willing to let lecherous men marry child brides anyway, because they know that awareness alone is not nearly enough to solve this problem. This “researched” report is nothing but a ludicrous document aimed at letting injustices against girls in the country continue indefinitely.

In any case, the CII’s stance of looking to use awareness campaigns instead of legislation to curb child marriages explicitly concedes that there is a problem, even in the eyes of the members of the council; their opposition to the legislation then is not wholly understandable. If the government is doing something to counter an issue within society, it is well within its rights to do so, and the CII’s opinion on the matter is not relevant.

In any case, the Council has lived well past its expiration date; all pronouncements made by the body in the past decade or so have been out of touch with reality, often taking the path of least sense. The CII is at this point only parroting the opinion of the loudest religious parties that were only disagreeing with the bill due to political reasons.

Shutting down the Council of Islamic Ideology will serve to remove confusion in religious circles and might also help in redirecting the funds it eats up to other, more noble causes. Past governments have ignored the “recommendations” of the Council and it seems that this government is looking to do the same. Why waste precious funds from the country’s coffers on a body that is actively ignored each time it makes these pronouncements that are far removed from reality?