Adult married girl?

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Photo for representation only. Photo Credit: AP. In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government will soon take a decision on the age of marriage of women. Earlier, a task force had been formed to consider raising the age of marriage from 18 years to Edited excerpts:. Madhu Mehra: It is important that girls are not pushed into marriage early; marriage should not be compulsory for them to gain social and economic status.

Yet, an increase in the minimum age of marriage to 21 years will be counterproductive. Minimum age of marriage does not mean mandatory age. It only ifies that below that age there could be criminal prosecution under the child marriage law. Also Read Should the age of marriage for women be raised to 21? The Hindu Parley podcast. Now, to increase the age of marriage to 21 years would mean that girls will have no say in their personal matters until they are In our research at Partners for Law in Development, we looked at 10 years of use of the child marriage law.

Overwhelmingly, the law was used by parents against eloping daughters. It has become a tool for parental control and for punishment of boys or men whom girls choose as their husbands. So, most cases that are taken to court are self-arranged marriages. And only one-third of the cases relate to arranged marriages, which are sometimes brought by parents or husbands to dissolve or to nullify marriages that have broken down because of domestic violence, dowry or compatibility issues.

An increase in age to 21 years would mean further persecution of girls right up till 21 years. This is how it plays out in the Indian context. The elementary right that the child rights convention bestows upon minors — the right to be heard, the right for their views to be considered — will be denied to girls right up till 21, beyond adulthood. Comment The marriage age misconception. It treats underage marriages as valid, but voidable. It means that an underage marriage is valid as long as the minors involved in Adult married girl?

marriage want it to remain valid. The PCMA also treats those underage marriages as void or having no legal validity, where they involve trafficking, enticement, fraud and deceit. A valuable provision in the PCMA is that it allows the minor party to repudiate the marriage or to have it nullified right up till two years of attaining majority.

This allows girls who elope with their partners to demand that their marriages are protected. This right should never be taken away. There is also a provision for injuncting an underage marriage from happening, which allows social workers flexibility in negotiating with the families involved and in getting the help of the district administration, child protection agencies, as well as the police. They usually do not use the law to formally prosecute as the repercussions at the village level are very severe for those who interfere.

We saw this with Bhanwari Devi who was gang-raped for stopping marriage. Also read Activists against raising age of marriage for women. Even if the law declares marriage void, in the eyes of the community, arranged marriages will have social validity. There are huge financial penalties, which go into lakhs of rupees depending on which caste and biradri you come from, for breaking a marriage which the law does not address or provide protection against. So the legal force of the PCMA and its flexibility, rather than prosecutions, enable social workers to prevent marriages.

Under the law, the Child Marriage Restraint Act, there was a thinking that girls mature earlier than boys and therefore should have a lower age of marriage. That is a very outdated perception. Also read Just another meaningless. The Law Commission Report ofon reforming family law, recommended a uniform age of marriage for boys and girls at 18 years and not The National Human Rights Commission in recommended that there should be a uniform age of marriage for boys and girls.

Laws such as the Indian Majority Adult married girl?, grant the right to vote, and to enter into contracts, for those who attain the age of And they are equal for men and women. At the current age of marriage for women and men, we find that implementation of the child marriage law is very hard. So there is no basis to increase it to If the concern is that there should be fewer pregnancies or to avoid early pregnancies among young girls, there are different ways to address that.

Also read Study moots lowering the age of consent. Moreover, the unequal age of marriage impacts girls more adversely. At 19 or 20, a girl is at a fairly young age to Adult married girl? the capacity or the wherewithal to annul the marriage. Madhu Mehra: How do we understand equality is my question.

My proposition is to enhance gender equality. In India, we widely practise hypergamy, where the boy has to be older, more educated, must have a higher income, and so on. If we bring the age of marriage down to 18, it is possible then that the most desirable bride for that boy would be 15 or 16 years old. As far as the issue of repudiation of marriage by girls is concerned, I believe it should be four years for girls and not two. But if we are thinking about equality and non-discrimination, then another amendment is non-negotiable and of very high priority, that is the age of sexual consent.

Currently, in elopement cases, boys are prosecuted for repeated rape of the minor wife, which is an aggravated offence punishable by a minimum of 20 years under the Protection of Children Adult married girl? Sexual Offences Act. In contrast, in an arranged marriage, in the rare case when parents are prosecuted, the maximum punishment is two years.

This disparity replaces honour killings by the rule of law. This is heinous, and the age of consent must be brought down immediately. To bring in the law for consensual, non-exploitative, non-coercive relations between peers is a big flaw that needs to be corrected.

Also read Girls marry early for want of schools: study. It would help young girls who are forced into marriages and want to come out of it.

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We need to recognise child marriage as a human rights violation as it endangers the lives of young girls by exposing them to increased domestic violence, marital rape, early pregnancies, etc. Rendering all child marriages invalid will also make them unacceptable. Of course, it has to go along with some measures to protect young girls such as maintenance and protection orders from domestic violence.

Jayna Kothari: This amendment was brought about in based on the recommendations of a committee under Justice Shivraj Patil. Even the child marriage prohibition officers are not trained. Madhu Mehra: An issue like child marriage is a social issue, an economic issue. Third, poor families thrive on domestic work and a girl often gets pulled out of school to help at home. Adult married girl?, this myth that girls leave education because of marriage is not borne out by data.

We must ensure an increase in the scope of the Right to Education for girls right up to vocational studies. I would say that to introduce criminal law and punishment and to declare child marriage void is like saying hunger is a human rights problem and the way to address hunger is by criminalising those who have less food or eat one meal. As far as the Karnataka situation is concerned, one social worker shared with us a case of a minor who was widowed.

When she sought to claim the pension of the deceased husband, she was told that her marriage is not valid. She just becomes a de facto wife without any legal protection. Many social workers did not agree with the recommendations of the Justice Shivraj Patil Committee as they thought those made their life more difficult. How do they help girls who have no recognition Adult married girl? the eyes of the law? Our code of editorial values. Opinion Comment. There is no evidence that tinkering with the age of marriage will benefit women in any way.

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Do you agree with the move to increase the age of marriage for women to 21 years? Should the age of marriage for women be raised to 21? One argument for raising the age of marriage for women to 21 years is that it will make the marriage age equal for both men and women.

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Do you welcome that? Do you agree with the principle of equality being applied here? As a result, the government is considering amending the law to make child marriages illegal or void ab initio. Do you think this will help girls? Karnataka has amended the PCMA to make marriages void ab initio.

What has been the impact of this in the State? Madhu, what do you think is an effective way of tackling underage marriage?

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Adult married girl?

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Should the age of marriage for women be raised to 21?