New Delhi [India], January 31 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday informed the petitioner that on January 13, 2023, the Supreme Court allowed transferring the main proceedings pertaining to uniformity in the minimum age of marriage for men and women in diverse legislations.
The bench of Justice Satish Chander Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad after noted the submissions, directed its registry department to transfer the case related documents immediately to the Supreme Court.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday will hear the public interest litigation (PIL) seeking to equalise of the legal age of marriage for men and women saying the limit of 18 years for a woman, while it is 21 for a man, amounts to discrimination.
The plea before the Delhi High Court earlier stated that at present, while men in India are permitted to get married at the age of 21, women are allowed to get married when they are 18. It is mentioned that more than 125 countries in the world have a uniform age of marriage.
The litigant / Advocate Ashwini Kunar Upadhyay said the plea is filed in the public interest under Article 226 and it challenges a blatant and ongoing form of discrimination against women.
“The discriminatory ‘minimum age’ limit for marriage for men and women is based in patriarchal stereotypes, has no scientific backing, perpetrates de jure and de facto inequality against women, and goes completely against the global trends,” the plea said. As per the petition, some of the statutory provisions, which are responsible for discriminatory ‘minimum age’ limit for marriage include — Section 60(1) of the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872; Section 3(1)(c) of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936; Section 4(c) of the Special Marriage Act, 1954; Section 5(iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Section 2(a) of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
The plea stated that the differential bar discriminates against women and contravenes with the fundamental principles of gender equality, gender justice and dignity of women and breaches Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution. The petitioner in his petition further stressed that women have a fundamental right to be free to pursue studies or occupations after finishing school at the age of 18.
“It is a social reality that women are expected (and often also pressurised) to beget children immediately after marriage and also forced to take up household chores in accordance with their stereotypical roles in the family. This harms their educational as well as economic pursuits and often impinges on their reproductive autonomy as well,” the plea said.
It added that a higher minimum age will ensure “more autonomy to women in every sense”. (ANI)
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