Delhi high court turns down plea challenging minimum marriage age
The Delhi high court was hearing a case regarding an inter-caste marriage wherein the couple, both 19 years old, feared harm.delhi Updated: Aug 21, 2018 04:51 IST
The Delhi high court refused to hear a plea challenging a provision in law setting the minimum age of marriage for women and men at 18 and 21 years, respectively.
However, it granted protection to a man and woman, both 19 years old, who feared torture by people, including policemen, for solemnising an inter-caste marriage.
Justice Najmi Waziri declined to hear the challenge to Section 5 (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, which fixes the minimum age of marriage, stating that the question raised will be heard only by a division bench whereas the couple needed immediate relief.
The court granted protection to the couple even as it asked their counsel, Kamlesh Kumar Mishra, to remove the prayer challenging the provision in question. The petition had also contended that even though a representation seeking protection was sent to the police commissioner, no response was received from his side.
Besides seeking protection, the couple’s plea, filed through advocates Mishra and Sanjay Baniwal, also challenged the provisions of the Act on the ground that it was in violation of articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Indian Constitution which list various provisions for equality.
The plea had contended that both the individuals are adults.
“It would not be out of place to mention that a ‘live-in relationship’ is now recognised by the Legislature, which has found its place under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005,” the plea said.
The petition also said that if adult males are given equal treatment under various provisions of the law, why are they placed on an unequal ground in provisions for age of marriage.
“Why can’t men marry at the age of 18 if they are considered as mature/major,” the plea asked.
The court, however, refrained from hearing the challenge to this provision and disposed of the plea by giving protection to the couple.
According to one of the complainants, Gaurav, who works in a packaging company, he did not know the minimum age for marriage for men. He had known Rakhi, who studies in class 12, for three years.
They had decided to marry a long time ago.
After their wedding, they stayed at Gaurav’s relative’s house as Rakhi’s family had filed a case of kidnapping against him. Both of them returned home on Tuesday after the orders of the court.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Gaurav said that things have normalised after the directives of the court.
“Even though my family had agreed to the marriage, Rakhi’s family filed a case of kidnapping against me. However, they have agreed to the alliance and have taken the complaint back,” he said.
The court left it to advocate Mishra to file a separate petition challenging the minimum age limit for marriage.
First Published: Aug 21, 2018 04:51 IST