Legal age of marriage in India: Government pushes to raise legal age of marriage for women to 21 | India News

NEW DELHI: With Cabinet approval of the proposal to raise the legal age of marriage for girls from 18 to 21, bringing it on par with men, the government has initiated the process of change major law which has been a point of debate for a long time.
The big test for the bill will be its passage in Parliament, as any change in age will have far-reaching implications. Despite a decline over the decades, underage marriages remain a concern even though there is a longstanding ban on child marriage. According to the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-21). The latest survey shows that the problem is most prevalent in rural India at 27% while in urban areas underage marriages accounted for 14.7% of all marriages.

The government sees the bill as a strong measure to put women on an equal footing with men, in line with the Constitution’s vision of gender equality. “As India progresses, new opportunities are opening up for women to pursue higher education and careers. It is imperative to reduce the maternal mortality rate (MMR), the infant mortality rate. (IMT) and improve nutrition levels as well as increase the sex ratio at birth (SRB). These are the main reasons for the implementation of the proposed legislation, “said an official source. This decision is also cited as a step that will allow women to reach psychological maturity before marriage, to better exercise their reproductive rights and to make decisions about family planning and contraceptive use.

The age of marriage for women was increased from 15 to 18 in 1978 by amending the old Sharda law of 1929. The first indication of an upward revision of the age of marriage for girls appeared in the speech. by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Independence Day last year. On Wednesday, Cabinet approved the introduction of the “Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021” to amend the “Prohibition of Child Marriage (PCMA) Act 2006”. The bill is expected to be considered in Parliament shortly.
According to some sources, the bill, once approved by parliament, will be followed by consequential amendments to laws relating to the age of marriage. These include the personal laws governing the marriage of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis and “the Special Marriage Act 1954” and “the Foreign Marriage Act, 1969”. Related laws such as the “Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956” and the “Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956” are under scrutiny.
In his Independence Day speech last year, the Prime Minister said: “To end malnutrition in girls, to assess what the age of marriage should be, we have set up a committee. .


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