Mindel Scott

Boy Legal Marriage Age in India

There are several strategies that have worked globally to reduce the incidence of child marriage. Some solutions that might work in the Indian context are discussed below: We support the Law Commission`s 2008 recommendation to unify the legal age of marriage for boys and girls at 18 and not 21. If individuals can vote at the age of 18, they should also be allowed to choose their partner at that age. The International Center for Women`s Studies will evaluate Apni Beti, Apna Dhan, later in 2012, when the first participants in the program turn 18, to see if the program, especially the financial incentive, motivated parents to delay their daughters` marriages. “We have evidence that conditional cash transfer programs are very effective in keeping girls in school and vaccinating them, but we don`t yet have evidence that this strategy works to prevent marriage,” said Pranita Achyut, program manager for Apni Beti, Apna Dhan. “If the Haryana state approach proves valuable, it could potentially be expanded to make a meaningful difference in the lives of many more girls – and not just in India.” [10] Personal laws governing marriage and other personal practices for communities prescribe certain criteria for marriage, including the age of the bride and groom. For example, section 5(iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 sets a minimum age of 18 years for the bride and 21 years for the groom. This applies to Christians under the Indian Christian Marriage Act of 1872 and the Special Marriage Act. Is it logical or sustainable? Could gender parity have been achieved by making 18 the age of marriage for all sexes? The government`s decision is also seen as an attempt to dismantle religious civil laws and move towards a unified civil code. Essentially, banning child marriage.

This is done through special laws such as the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006 and the Child Protection from Sexual Offences Act of 2012. Under the Prevention of Child Marriage Act, any marriage below the prescribed age is illegal and perpetrators of forced child marriage can be punished. The states with the highest observed marriage rates for girls under the age of 18 in 2009 were Jharkhand (14.1%), West Bengal (13.6%), Bihar (9.3%), Uttar Pradesh (8.9%) and Assam (8.8%), according to a report by the Registrar General of India. [4] According to this report, despite a sharp decline in child marriage rates since 1991 in 2009, 7% of women aged 18 in India were still married. UNICEF India played an important role in highlighting Indian data on the prevalence rate of child marriage from its 1990s study. Javier Aguilar, UNICEF`s child protection officer, explained that India is responsible for the highest number of child marriages in South Asia due to its size and population. [22] In some countries, including India, the Philippines and Tanzania, the legal age of marriage varies by religion. The Philippines requires 21-year-old couples to marry without permission, but not if they are Muslims. The Child Marriage Prohibition Act does not contain any provision that expressly states that the law would prevail over all other laws in this area. And there is an obvious discrepancy in the letter of the law between the Child Marriage Prohibition Act and the Muslim Minimum Age of Marriage Law.

With the minimum age of marriage of 21, a woman will be mentally, physically and financially better able to combat pressure or abuse from her family because she married early or married against her will. Teenage pregnancies are associated with a high risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, which endanger the lives of both the child and the mother. Therefore, raising the legal age of marriage will help reduce maternal mortality and will also have a positive impact on women`s mental health. Another consideration is gender parity. Article 4 (c) of the Special Marriage Act explains the legally permissible age of marriage for women to be 18, while for men the age is 21, but the distinction does not seem to have a reasonable justification. The voting age is the same, the age to intentionally accept and enter into a contract is the same, and given this, the age to enter into a lifetime commitment should not be different. In the landmark Independent Thought v Union Of India, the Supreme Court ruled that it is imperative that the age of marriage for men and women be fair. Subsequently, on 21 December 2021, the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Act 2021 was introduced to the Lok Sabha.

The Bill amends the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 to raise the minimum age for women to marry. In addition to raising the minimum age of marriage from 18 to 21 for women, the bill also provides for the annulment of child marriages up to the age of 23 instead of 20 and provides that the provisions of the potential law take precedence over any other law, custom, custom or practice governed by the parties to the marriage. according to the bill. The Indian government plans to raise the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21. For men, there are already 21. The government argues that this will empower women and ensure gender equality. This may seem possible at first glance, but in the context of growing social and state control over marriage, the proposed law may be troubling. As critics have pointed out, an 18-year-old can vote and is considered an adult in other laws, but when it comes to marriage, everyone is considered a child up to 21. There is clear evidence that allowing girls to complete their education delays marriage and gives them the opportunity to be financially independent.

According to the National Family Health Survey-4, the median age of marriage rises from 17.2 years for uneducated women to 22.7 years for women with 12 years or more of schooling. Education enables them to realize their aspirations and live a dignified life, and gives them the opportunity to defend their sexual and reproductive rights in their decision to marry. Several states in India have introduced incentives to delay marriages. For example, in 1994, the state of Haryana introduced the Apni Beti, Apna Dhan program, which translates to “My daughter, my wealth.” This is a conditional money transfer program dedicated to delaying youth marriages by making a loan paid by the government on her behalf to her parents of ₹(₹330) on her behalf after her 18th birthday in the amount of ₹25,000 (₹330) if she is not married. [10] According to the 2011 National Census in India, the average age of marriage for women is 21.2 years. [25] [26] In the 15-19 age group, 69.6% of all women surveyed in India had never been married. [27] The Child Marriage Restriction Act, also known as the Sarda Law,[29] was a law restricting the practice of child marriage. It entered into force on 1 April 1930 and covered the whole country, with the exception of some princely states such as Hyderabad and Jammu and Kashmir. In this law, the age of marriage was set at 18 years for men and 14 years for women. In 1949, after India`s independence, the minimum age for women was raised to 15, and in 1978 it was raised again to 18 and 21 for both women and men. The sentence for a man between the ages of 18 and 21 who married a child became a prison sentence of up to 15 days, a fine of 1,000 rupees, or both. The sentence for a man over the age of 21 became a prison sentence of up to three months and a possible fine.

Punishment for anyone who conducted or presided over a child marriage ceremony became a prison sentence of up to three months and a possible fine, unless they could prove that the marriage they had entered into was not a child marriage. The penalty imposed on a parent or guardian of a child in the marriage has become a prison sentence of up to three months or a possible fine. [30] It was amended in 1940 and 1978 to further raise the age of male and female children. [29] Muslim organizations in India have long argued[9][33] that Indian laws passed by their parliaments, such as the Child Marriage Act 2006, do not apply to Muslims because marriage is a personal legal entity. [6] [8] The Delhi Supreme Court and other state courts of India disagree. The Delhi court, for example, ruled that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 takes precedence over all personal laws and governs every citizen of India.[34] The decision states that a minor marriage in which the man or woman is over 16 years of age would not be a void but questionable marriage that would become valid, if no action is taken by a court that has the possibility of ordering otherwise. In the event that one of the parties is under 18 years of age, the marriage is invalid, since the age of consent in India is 18 years, sexual relations with minors under 18 years of age are a legal crime under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code. [34] Despite the ban on child marriage in 2006, which severely restricts child marriage, it has continued to be practiced in our society.