Legal Age for Marriage

In ancient India various orthodox believes used to be followed like child marriage, sati pratha, women had to shave their heads after their husband’s death and many other practices. In today’s time there has been various changes relating to this practices. In the ancient period girls used to be married at age of 10 to 15 years but in today’s world valya vivah cases have reduced. There is a major cause behind the reduction of Rates of child marriage that is the increment of the legal marriage age of a woman.

Minimum age for the marriage of a woman has been fixed so our PM Modi Independence Day addressing the nation has said that Central government has set up a committee which will soon decide on revising minimum age of marriage for women, which tells about increment of the minimum age of marriage of Indian women. So we all know that that currently in India the minimum age of marriage of a girl is 18 and that of a boy is 21.

But what happened that there was a need of increment of this minimum age. So in 2019 in Delhi High Court a petition was filed due to which the court asked for the response from the central government, that for both men and women there should be a common marriage age; the petitioner had said that if such thing does not happens then there is discrimination between men and women. The petitioner had also mentioned that Article 14 and 15 of the Constitution is violated in this case.

So many of us might think that age of majority and legal age of marriage both are same concepts, but this is not the case. Age of majority is a Gender neutral which means that for both a girl and the boy the age of majority remains the same, which is 18 years. The age of marriage in India is different for both the genders.

So when we think of a girls marriage many issues comes to our mind, there are various problems faced by girls when they are married early.

Which are as follows:-

1. High maternal mortality rate- which means that there are various complications during the pregnancy which ultimately leads to the death of the woman and the second one is

2. Poor Nutrition

Now let’s concentrate on what is the link between a marriage and nutrition of a woman so according to the study of International Food policy Research Institute IFPRI, the nutrition of adolescence mother they have higher chances of malnutrition during their pregnancy and their growth in the long run also gets hampered. In India 21 million girls who are between the age of 15 to 19 years, pregnancy issues of girls of this age group are maximum reported,

And near about 12 million girls are able to give birth to children.

The institute has given 3 suggestions to improve maternal and child nutrition

First one is by increasing the age of marriage second one being increasing the age at first birth and the third one is by providing education to the girls,

In 1988 the government had lowered the India’s voting age to 18 years, they said that India’s youth is very much enthusiastic and confident and therefore they should also get the chance to vote in elections. So the similar way, the government said that by maintaining a Universal age of marriage for both men and women will reduce the girls health issue, and the same legal marriage each will also be maintained and which will not violate article 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution.

There are some states in which a girl is married before 18 years of age those states being Bihar Chhattisgarh Madhya Pradesh Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

All other states like Kerala Gujarat Punjab Tamilnadu very less amount of girls are married before the age of 18.

Now let’s concentrate on the issue that why minimum age of marriage is required   in the first place?

In India for various years child marriage has taken place still now this practice has been followed in various corner of the state, so in order to prevent child marriage maintaining a minimum age is very important.

In India different religion have their own personal laws like in Hindu Marriage Act 1955, 18 years is the minimum marriage age for a bride and 21 for boys,

But child marriage is not illegal in India, but it can be declared void if the minor party who are in this marriage choose to do so.

So the Indian Penal Code which was enacted in 1860, according to which sexual intercourse with any girl below the age of 10 has been criminalised.

In 1927 this law had been amended,

And it was mentioned that provision of rape through Age of Consent bill declared marriage with a girl under 12 as invalid.

In 1929 under the child marriage restraint act age for of girls for marriage was set to 16 and that of boys to 18 years.

In 1978 under the Sarda Act the syllabus changed according to which the age of marriage for boys was raised to 21 years and that of girls was raised to 18 years.

The revision for the age of marriage which is being talked about will happen after almost 40 years, and India will come along with the state where marriage age is 21 like China Japan and Singapore.

Just by making laws and giving punishment changes cannot be brought, people have to be awared of the issues that can take place if a girl is married early.

The government needs to focus on economic and social development of women, and by increasing the we will get a step closer to gender equality.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

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You may also like to read:

Rethinking Juvenile Justice Act

Crime Against Humanity

Senior Citizens in India


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