Minimum Age of Girl for Court Marriage in India

“I would like to argue that women`s equality in our country must be seen at the age of marriage. Citing different marriage laws of different faiths, I am taking the floor to introduce the amending law,” Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani told parliament. Despite the Child Marriage Prohibition Act of 2006, which severely restricts child marriage, it has continued to be practiced in our society. According to the National Family Health Survey (2019-2021), one-quarter of women aged 20 to 24 were married before reaching the age of 18. In this sense, the problem lies in the implementation of this new law, because despite the new laws that were introduced earlier, the deep-rooted elements of patriarchy, poverty and dowry still exist in our society. Child marriage is illegal but not zero. It may be contested at the choice of the minor party. This means that the marriage can only be annulled by a court if the minor party applies to the court. This flexibility is maintained to ensure that the rights of the minor, especially the girl, are not subsequently taken away from the marital home. Girls from socio-economically disadvantaged families were forced to marry, and financial support, especially for education, automatically raised the age of marriage for women. Female students will become the most vulnerable group under the proposed legislation. Prabhleen Tuteja, program director of the YP Foundation and CAG for Pratigya Campaign, says arguments between a woman and her future in-laws over further education will increase. At present, the bill to raise the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 has been referred to the Standing Committee of Parliament.

However, the country still has a long way to go before Indian women manage to be on an equal footing with men, regardless of caste, creed, religion and socio-economic status. Many senior clerics in Saudi Arabia have spoken out against setting a minimum age for marriage, arguing that a girl reaches adulthood during puberty. [293] However, if a court finds that a minor has been forcibly married by his or her parents or guardians, the provisions of the Juvenile Courts (Custody and Protection of Children) Act come into force to retain custody of the minor until he or she reaches the age of majority and can make a decision on the marriage. Essentially, banning child marriage. This is done through specific laws such as the Child Marriage Prohibition Act 2006 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012. Under the Prevention of Child Marriage Act, any marriage before the prescribed age is illegal and perpetrators of forced child marriages can be punished. Others argue that if a girl is 18 old enough to vote or be treated as an adult when she commits a crime, there is no reason why she cannot marry at that age. In response to this criticism, supporters of the law say the move should not be seen as a problem, but as an opportunity. “There are many other government recommendations to make it easier for girls to educate until graduation and ensure reproductive health rights for all girls,” Kumari said. Irani said 23 percent of girls under 18 were married, although a law prohibits it. Around 2 million cases of child marriage were arrested in 2015-2020, she said. Figures from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) show that 7% of women aged 15 to 18 were pregnant.

No one can marry her off to another after puberty without her express permission, whether the guardian is the father, the father`s father, or someone else. m3.15 No guardian may marry a girl to someone who is not suitable (def:m4) without her consent and the acceptance of all those who may be guardians (def:m3.7). [291] And even postcard writer Mitharwal admits that his call to raise the minimum age to 21 may not lead to real change. In addition to the revision of the law she supports, she says the government needs to conduct large-scale outreach programs to explain to parents why it`s important to postpone marriage for a few years so their daughter can study. During the 20th century, most Middle Eastern countries followed the Ottoman precedent in defining the age of proficiency, while increasing the minimum age to 15 or 16 for boys and 15 to 16 for girls.