Indian The government has proposed raising the minimum legal age of marriage
for women from 18 to 21 years . Currently , the minimum legal age for women to
marry is 18 years; For men , the corresponding age is 21 years.
A bill to formalize such a legal change was presented in the Lok Sabha. However,
after resistance from the opposition parties which argued that this bill
infringed upon several personal laws in violation of fundamental rights , it was
sent to a parliamentary panel for further evaluation.
As per the bill, the new minimum marital age for women shall prevail over all
the personal laws; therefore the legal age of marriage will be raised for all
females regardless of their religion.
Marriages in India are given a great deal of attention and consideration; still,
society and its willful rules have prevented people, especially women, from
making their own opinions about their ambition, pretensions and the age at which
they want to marry. In an period of prim, the legal age to get married was 21
till 1823. still, after 1823, it was reduced to 14 for boys and 12 for girls.
There were multitudinous social villainies in social India like womanish
infanticide, Sati, Polygamy, child marriage and mutitudinous further.
Under Indian law child marriage was a sophisticated issue. It was defined by The
Child Marriage Restraint Act in 1929,( 9) which set the minimum age of marriage
for ladies to be 14 and males 18. Muslims opposed this law subsequently replace
for Muslims of British India by the Muslim Personal Law( Shariat) Application
Act of 1937,( 5) which inferred no minimum limit and allowed motherly or
guardian concurrence in case of Muslim marriages.
On an average girls were married off between the age of 10 and 12 times during
this time period. After India gain independence, there was a major change in
1978 when the legal age of marriage was increased to 18 for girls and 21 for
boys.recently , Indian government introduce a bill to increase the minimum legal
age for women to marry from 18 to 21 times. When ask to give new bill sense,the
Indian government claimed that it would empower women and minimise gender
The exigency for the legislation
In June 2020, the Ministry for Women and Child Development set up a platoon
which was led by Jaya Jaitley to probe the connection between the period of
marriage with issues of women nutrition, child mortality rate( IMR), motherly
mortality rate (MMR), and otherproblems. after disquisition they put forward
results which suggest that the age of marriage should be increased to 21 times.
Another consideration is that of gender equivalency. Section 4( c) of the
Special Marriage Act declares the legal eligible age of marriage for women as 18
while for men this age is 21 times, but this bracket offers no reasonable
defense or explanation. The voting age is the same, the age to wilfully assent
for to enter into a sexual relationship and enter into a contract is equal, and
also in view of the same, the age for entering into a bond for life should also
be same. In the corner judgement of Independent study v Union Of India, the
Supreme Court editorialized that it's essential that the age of marriage of men
and women is made indifferent.
The prohibition of child Marriage (Correction) Bill,2021 was tabled in the Lok
Sabha on 21 December 2021. The Bill alter the Prohibition of Child Marriage
Act,2006 to raise the minimal age for women to marry. Along with furnishing for
an increase in the minimal age of marriage from 18 to 21 for women, the Bill
also provides for cancellation of child marriage till the age of 23 in lieu of
20 times, and for the implicit Act's vittles to take priority over any other
law, custom, use, or practice regulating the parties to the marriage, according
to the Bill.
Five Reasons Why The Changing Legal Age Of Marriage Is A Bad Move
Child Marriage Is Formerly Reducing In India
According to NFHS- 5,23.3 women surveyed got married before attaining the legal
age of 18 times , down from26.8 reported in NFHS- 4. The figure for underage
marriage among men is17.7( NFHS- 5) and20.3( NFHS- 4).
This enchancement of increased in marriage age has been set up to be because of
increased access to education, skilling, healthcare and jobs. When girls can
study further and earn plutocrat, it causes a change in station and a
amenability to invest in them and delay their marriages.
These factors are proven to organically increase the age of marriage. Why is the
government also riveting its energy on introducing a change in policy that seeks
to criminalize people?
- The living law governing child marriage - PCMA - isn't veritably
effective on the ground.
The minimal age of marriage for girls has been 18 times since 1978. Despite
the steady decline of child marriage rates in India, the country continues
to have the loftiest absolute number of underage misters in the world -
despite the actuality of the Prevention of Child Marriages Act( PCMA), 1978
In 2018, only 501 cases were reserved under the PCMA Act, indeed though data
suggests that one in four women in India is still getting married under the
age of 18. easily, the law isn't being effectively used to stop or reduce
the number of early marriages from being.
At the grassroots position, it's set up that the PCMA is overwhelmingly used
by parents of girls to help tone- arranged marriages.Then, youthful people
that want to get married of their own choice find themselves criminalized,
simply for exercising their choice. The PCMA isn't being used extensively
and in a proper manner to stop cases of constrained or forced early
marriages, due to the deep- confirmed acceptance that similar social customs
enjoy in society.
While the current law isn't executed rigorously, simply fastening on age and
corrective measures won't ameliorate the situation. Raising the age of
marriage to 21 will increase the difficulties and detriment of youthful
people - the very people it's meant to cover.
- Poor Quality And Access To Education Directly Causes Early Marriage To
Girls left to no choice but to drop out of academy due to the poor quality
of education, lack of structure like toilets, frequence of sexual
importunity , or poverty - which also leads to early marriage. Investing in
secondary and advance education for girls has been proven to drop rates of
early marriage. exploration shows that townlets with high seminaries have a
much lower rate of early marriage. According to NFHS - 4 data, the median
age at first marriage for women increases from17.2 times for women with no
training to22.7 time for women with 12 or further times of training.
India's education system isn't that important effective for girls. Filling
these gaps should be one of the top precedence for the government.
- Beforehand Marriage Isn't The Reason For Poor Nutrition And Health Of
The Task Force for the Age of Marriage has a stated end end of examining the
factors that are responsible for malnourishment and anaemia of maters, and
factors like suppressing and light among children.Still , exploration shows
that the age of marriage has little part in the factor governing the poor
health of women as comparsion to poverty which is the most important factor
governing the poor health of youthful maters ( indeed at advanced periods of
marriage similar as 21 times).
Poverty also leads to under nutrition, anaemia and neglect of health care
which are crucial to motherly health. Thus , in order to ameliorate motherly
nutrition and health enhancement in access to nutrition, free and accessible
healthcare is necessary. There's therefore ample exploration to show that
such a move will be seriously mischievous to the rights, health and autonomy
of youthful women in India.
It has been proven that riveting on positive and enabling measures to
ameliorate a girl's quality of life - education, employment, poverty relief
- has a much advanced impact on organically delaying her marriage, so the
government should concentrate on those rather.
- Beforehand Marriage Is The Consequence Of Deep- Seated Social Morals
That Need To Be Dived At The Root.
The practice of early marriage is the consequence of deep- seated social
morals . There's a believe in society that marrying girls off at an early
age reduces the price of dowry, and protects them from sexual violence.
Marriage and chastity are deeply connected to sundries of chastity and
honour of the family.
Girls are further seen as fiscal burdens( paraya dhan) who need to be
married off at a youthful age. Investing in advanced education for girls is
viewed as an gratuitous expenditure corrective policy won't vanish these
social morals. In fact, there are chances that such a move will only
increase underground marriage which will be carried out in a
secret.Beforehand marriages continue to enjoy social acceptance, despite the
actuality of an Act( PCMA) that criminalizes them.
In 2015- 16, 63 of youthful women were married before the age of 21. Among the
poorest 20 of the population, the chance of women marrying below the age of 21
is as high as 75. Raising the minimal age of marriage would turn the families of
these women into culprits - and disproportionately affect the poorer sections of
society, substantially comprising of Dalit, Bahujan and Adivasi women.
More access to education and employment openings lead to a radical shift in
morals and bournes for girls, and a amenability to invest in them and delay
their marriages. It's pivotal to address these social customs at their roots in
order to drive behavioural change.
Advantages Of An Increase Of Marriage In India
This move of an increase in marriage age is a one step forward towards gender
equivalency since it'll make the legal marriage age equal for both men and
women, which is in agreement to composition 14 of the Constitution of India.
Moving forward, indeed in the 21st century, society functions upon a
paternalistic social structure, and numerous youthful girls are forced to leave
seminaries and sodalities only for the purpose of getting wedded. One of the
main end of this law change is to insure that girls are handed with a further
openings to do with their studies. Accordingly, further women are anticipated to
go into advanced education, get jobs, and come financially independent in their
Likewise, this move will potentially stop the old age practice of teenage
marriage, where girls in the age group of 14- 15 are married off after being
portrayed as 18. Indeed now according to the rearmost data,23.3 of women in the
nation are married off at an age youngish than 18. Data indicates that while the
academy powerhouse rate of girls in classes 1 to 5 and classes 6 to 8 is only1.2
and2.6 independently , as compared to from classes 9 to 10 which is a huge
There's a stopgap that this decision will drop the powerhouse rate chance of
schooh- going girls.Coming important advantage of an increase in the minimal age
for marriage at 21 is that, a woman will be mentally, physically, and
financially in a better position to stand up for herself against facing pressure
or maltreatment from her family for getting wedded early or getting married
against her will.
Teenage gravidity are frequently led by a high peril of complications during
gestation and delivery which causes a trouble to both life of a mama as well as
child. therefore , adding the legal age of marriage will help in reducing
motherly mortality and will also have a positive impact on the internal health
This move will help in diving the social issues in addition to it'll also help
the frugality thrive.Working population is in the age group of 15- 49 times
which accounts for a vast bulk of the Indian population.still,the country's
patriarchal culture prevents it from producing gross domestic product in
proportion to its working population. Women will now have an equal chance both
at advanced education, employment and to make their life opinions on their own
and to come fiscal independent which as a result leads to profitable growth.
Government of India has made a estimable decision by raising the minimal age for
women to marry piecemeal from addressing the country's social issues, the move
would also help the frugality thrive. still, legislation alone isn't sufficient
to bring about change as we know from once exemplification
It must be noted that according to the 2019 report from the Ministry of
Statistics and Programme perpetration, the average age of marriage for women has
increased to22.1 times which is much advanced than the minimal legal age at
present and the bone that's proposed. This average age is further for civic
women than pastoral women. So, one can suspect that this change isn't only
voluntary but is also accelerated by an increase in income and educational
situations. Proper enterprise that helps that helps in perfecting access to
education and employment will have to accompany the legal correction for change
to reflect in the society.
The result lies in empowering youthful girls, encouraging them to get educated
and achieve fiscal autonomy education for girls, and conducting mindfulness
programs on the ill goods of nonage marriages. Government should subsidized
education and healthcare installations in order to insure that girl's right to
live a life of her choice is admired and preserved.Government should also come
with an on- ground medium to spread mindfulness and apply this policy change
rigorously for the benefits to reflect in the society and not to just pass this
legislation and anticipate a change in the demographics similar way will surely
bring a true change in the society's intelligence, further than legislation ever
Written By:Arjun Maheshwari
, National Law University Lucknow.