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SC seeks Centre’s response on NCW’s plea seeking uniform marriageable age


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has sought the Centre’s response on a petition filed by the National Commission for Women (NCW) seeking uniform marriageable age of 18 years for women and men of all communities.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha on Friday also sought the response of the Law Commission on the plea which further sought making marriage of minor Muslim girls a punishable offence under the law.

The petition, which cited a recent decision of the Delhi High Court allowing a minor Muslim girl’s marriage on the ground that it is permitted under the Muslim personal law, sought equal application of penal laws to Muslim women who were married off before attaining the age of majority, whether consensually or otherwise.

‘Minimum age of marriage’ under various personal laws, other than Muslim personal law, is consistent and in consonance with prevailing penal laws, the petition said.

Under the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872, Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936, Special Marriage Act, 1954 and Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the ‘minimum age of marriage’ for a man is 21 years and for a woman is 18 years, the petition said.

“Under the Muslim personal law, which continues to remain uncodified and unconsolidated, minors who have attained puberty are eligible to get married or on attaining the age of 15 years (in the absence of evidence). This is not only arbitrary, irrational and discriminatory but also violative of the provisions of the Pocso Act, 2012, which was enacted to protect children, particularly girls, from sexual offence,” it said. (PTI)

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