Why legal age of marriage for women is 18, asks Rajasthan HC
The PIL has been filed by one Abdul Mannan who argues that the different age limits for men and women’s marriage are discriminatory and without a scientific basis.Updated: Feb 05, 2020 18:57 IST
The Rajasthan High Court has asked the central and the state governments to respond to a public interest litigation, which seeks to have the legal age of marriage for women, presently at 18 years, declared as unconstitutional.
The PIL has been filed by one Abdul Mannan who argues that the different age limits for men and women’s marriage are discriminatory and without a scientific basis.
“Different minimum age of marriage for men and women are not only against the doctrine of gender equality and gender justice guaranteed under article 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India but is also against the dignity of women, which is an integral part of article 21,” the petitioner said.
The petition states that more than 125 countries in the world have a uniform age of marriage for men and women. The National Human Rights Commission, pursuant to the National conference on child marriage, had recommended that India follows suit and bring uniformity in the minimum age limit.
The petition says women are disadvantaged on several fronts due to the current lower age limit for marriage.
“Women have a fundamental right to be free to pursue studies or occupation after finishing school at the age of 18. As per the World Health Organisation, women who get pregnant before the age of 20, face a higher risk of low birthweight, preterm delivery and severe neonatal conditions,” the petitioner added.
According to the petition, the differential age limit is based solely on stereotypes. It also says that the Law Commission of India has observed that no scientific basis exists for such a distinction.