Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address on the 74th Independence Day on August 15, 2020, announced the formation of a committee aimed at reconsidering the minimum marriage age limit for girls. This issue has been in dispute for quite some time. In the Indian Penal Code 1860, the minimum age was 10 years. It is currently 18 years after subsequent amendments from time to time. In case of boys, it is 21 years. However, some people also consider it discrimination and argue to make it equal for both boys and girls.
Misuse due to a loophole of law
Different religions have their own customs and laws, even though the minimum age of marriage for girls is fixed. According to the section 5 (3) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the age of the girl at the time of marriage and the boy should be 21 years at the time of marriage. Despite this, millions of child marriages take place in this country, taking advantage of one flaw of the law. Actually, the minimum age of marriage has been fixed but child marriage is not illegal unless either of them resort to law to end it.
India is number one in the case of child marriage
According to Muslim personal law, a girl can be married as soon as she attains menstruation. According to UNICEF, about 1.5 million girls in India are married before the age of 18. We contribute one-third of all child marriages in the world. In this way, India is number one in the case of child marriage. According to an estimate, 16 percent of girls aged 15–19 are married.
What will the committee do
Apart from preventing child marriages, many more strong arguments are made behind raising the marriage age of girls. The life of both mother and child is threatened by pregnancy at an early age. Apart from reducing maternal and infant mortality, the committee set up by the Prime Minister will consider many more issues. The committee will examine the correlation between healthy motherhood and marriage age. In this, special emphasis will be given on the birth of the child and the nutrition of the mother and child thereafter. For this, the possibility of increasing the age of marriage from 18 to 21 will also be considered.