Monday, 18 July 2022

RAISING THE LEGAL MARRIAGE AGE FOR WOMEN

 RAISING THE LEGAL MARRIAGE AGE FOR WOMEN


Off lately, the Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to bring uniformity in the marriageable age

of men and women.

By amending the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006 and other personal law,

the legal age of marriage of women will be raised from 18 to 21 years.

In India, the minimum age of marriage was prescribed for the first time by the law known

as the Sarda Act, 1929. It was later renamed as the Child Marriage Restraint Act (CMRA),

1929.

In 1978, the law was amended to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 years for girls

and 21 years for boys.

This position remains the same even in the new law called the Prohibition of Child

Marriages Act (PCMA), 2006, which replaced the CMRA ,1929.


MARRIAGE MINIMUM AGE FOR DIFFERENT RELIGIONS:


1. For Hindus, The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 sets 18 years as the

minimum age for the bride and 21 years as the minimum age for

the groom.

2. In Islam, the marriage of a minor who has attained puberty is

considered valid.

3. The Special Marriage Act, 1954 and the Prohibition of Child

Marriage Act, 2006 also prescribe 18 and 21 years as the

minimum age of consent for marriage for women and men,

respectively.

.


PROS OF RAISING MINIMUM AGE FOR MARRIAGE FOR WOMEN:

1. Women's and Children's Welfare: In terms of both her own malnutrition and that of her

kid, the mother's poverty plays by far the most important role. Early marriage and, as a

result, early pregnancies have an impact on mothers' and children's nutritional levels, as

well as their overall health and mental well-being.

2. Women's Empowerment And Gender Parity: A woman's educational level, living

conditions, health conditions, and decision-making capacity are all affected by her age at

childbearing.

3. Addressing Child Marriage: India has the world's highest number of underage marriages.

The law will aid in the prevention of child marriage.


CONS OF RAISING MINIMUM AGE FOR MARRIAGE FOR WOMEN

1. Difficulty in Fighting Child Marriage: The implementation of the child marriage law is

difficult.


4. The evidence suggests that when the law is used, it is mostly to

penalise young adults for self-arranged marriages.

5. The law to prevent child marriage does not work very well.

6. While child marriage has declined, it has been marginal: from

27% in 2015-16 to 23% in 2019-20, according to National Family

Health Survey (NFHS) 5.

7. 70% of early marriages take place in deprived communities such

as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and the law will

simply push these marriages underground instead of preventing

them.


2. Criminalisation of a Large Number of Marriages: The change will leave the vast

majority of Indian women who marry before they are 21 without the legal

protections that the institution of marriage otherwise provides, and make their

families criminalize.

3. Lack of Education is a Bigger Problem: According to the State of the World

Report 2020 by UNFPA, in India, 51% of young women with no education and

47% of those with only primary education had married by age 18.


CONCLUSION

Measures to curb child marriage

1. Improving Education: Activists believe that improving access to education is the key to

delaying child marriages, as the practise is both a social and economic issue. Skills and

business training, as well as sex education in schools, will be beneficial.


2. Improving School Access: The government should look at improving females' access to

schools and universities, as well as their transportation to these institutions from remote

places.


3. Mass Awareness Program: To raise public awareness of the rising age of marriage and to

foster social acceptance of the new legislation, a huge public awareness campaign is needed,

which they claim will be far more effective than coercive tactics.

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