Legal Age for Marriage in India for Girl

The change in the age of marriage for girls is directly related to the change in the age of marriage for men, which also shows a frequency where one in five men aged 25-29 is married before the legal age of 21. These national trends have their own regional differences, showing a higher incidence of over 40% of child marriage in the states of Bihar, West Bengal and Tripura. In addition, these states also experience premature motherhood among women between the ages of 15 and 19. Last year, about 100 civil society organizations submitted a report to the Working Group on Age of Marriage Verification. It was called “Young Voices” and included the views of nearly 2,500 children, adolescents and adolescents who raised several concerns, including an increase in female foeticide when the age of marriage is raised to 21. They point out that although marriages are currently illegal for girls under the age of 18, child marriage remains a major challenge in the country – up to a quarter of women aged 20 to 24 were married before the age of 18, according to the National Family Health Survey, 2019-21. The government says the goal is to provide equal opportunities for women by giving them more time to complete their education, access employment opportunities, reach psychological maturity before marriage and ensure gender parity. She wants the age of marriage to be the same for both sexes. “Why should the boy be older than the girl? Who made this decision? ” she asked. The International Center for Women`s Studies will evaluate Apni Beti, Apna Dhan, in 2012, when the first participants in the program turn 18, to determine whether the program, particularly the monetary incentive, motivated parents to postpone their daughters` marriage.

“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 marriages,” said Pranita Achyut, Apni Beti Program Manager, Apna Dhan. “If the Haryana approach proves useful, it could potentially be scaled up to make a significant difference in the lives of many girls – and not just in India. [10] The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is an international law that aims to end discrimination against women. Article 16 (Marriage and family life) provides that all women as well as men have the right to choose their spouse, to have the same responsibilities and to decide on the number and distance between children. The Convention stipulates that child marriages must have no legal effect, that all measures must be taken to ensure that a minimum age is respected, and that all marriages must be registered in an official register. [38] India signed the convention on July 30, 1980, but stated that due to the size and population of the country, it was not practical to register marriages. [39] Mitharwal`s reasoning is shared by the Indian government, which last year set up a task force to review the legal age of marriage. Raising the age of marriage “would prepare [girls] physiologically and psychologically to take responsibility for marriage and children,” India`s health ministry said in a statement posted on Twitter. It would also increase women`s participation in the labor market and be “a boon for maternal and child health,” he added.

Those interviewed in the report – such as letter writer Mitharwal – felt that raising the minimum age would discourage parents from forcing their daughters to drop out of school to marry and help girls negotiate more time. But they also felt that if there were no suitable schools/colleges in their village, or if the quality of education was poor, a change in the law would not stop early marriage. Mahima married a few days after her 16th birthday. It was a tight affair in his village in Bihar. Covid-19 offered his family the perfect opportunity to organize this discreet wedding without attracting too much attention. “Schools were closed, I had nothing to do at home. Also, nowadays it is not so easy to get an ideal groom. He took me to Delhi, he works as an air conditioning fitter and I took a job in a beauty salon,” jokes Mahima, who is expecting her first child and a legal marriage license when she turns 18 later this year.

“The law is being used as a weapon to serve honor, caste and communal controls against young couples without stopping underage marriages,” the report said. “The outcome of the law will leave girls speechless longer in personal decisions, with legal support.” In addition, the company continues to operate in the 21st century. Many young girls are forced to leave schools and colleges to marry. One of the main objectives of the amendment of the law is therefore to give girls a greater chance to continue their education. As a result, more women are expected to enter higher education, find work and become financially independent. In India, child marriage has always been a stumbling block for women. While it was endemic in all parts of the country, government rules and actions managed to remove it to some extent and sweep it under the rug, but it is still widespread. It continues, under the guise of a social marriage, which is not legalized until the girl reaches the age of 18. The Odisha State Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (OSCPCR) opposed the centre`s decision to raise the legal age of marriage for girls, saying it would be ineffective in preventing child marriage and aggravating cases of fetal killing and of single mothers.

Child marriage is a complex issue under Indian law. It was defined by the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929,[11] which set the minimum age of marriage at 14 for women and 18 for men. The law was opposed by Muslims and later replaced for Muslims in British India by the Muslim Personal Law (Sharia) Enforcement Act of 1937,[6] which involved no minimum limit and allowed parental or guardian consent in the case of Muslim marriages. The basic premise for making a real option/choice depends on the three E`s: educate, engage, and empower. Providing a certain level of education for girls prepares them for paid employment, which leads to a self-assessment that makes the option/choice of marriage and motherhood a reality.