The Madras High court stressed on Wednesday on the need to make some amendments to the Indian Majority Act 1875 and the Child Marriage Restraint Act, so that it can address the problem of the age of marriage of girls.
A division bench of justices S. Manikumar and V. S. Ravi said, “For a male, the marriage age is fixed as 21 years. For a girl it is 18 years. But both boys and girls grow in school atmosphere till the age of 17. How can girls be considered more matured at 18 than boys.”
The bench said that the Hindu law prescribes 21 years as marriageable age for men, and wondered whether it could be said the girl could acquire social, psychological maturity and ready for marriage on attaining 18 years.
The bench said that the High Court was registering a large number of Habeas Corpus petitions with regard to girls who run away with boys at the age of 18. No parent would like his child to walk away from family and getting married on her own in their absence, it said.
The bench, which was closing a Habeas Corpus plea filed by one R Thiagarajan, said parents bring up their child with love and affection, educate them with a fond hope, and after verifying many particulars as to who would be his or her partner, settle them in marriage.
It was the grievance of the parents that at adolescent age, when the children were not mentally and psychologically mature they decided their course of action, and married because of infatuation.
Due to lack of proper understanding with parents, they think there was somebody to take care of them and get them entangled. It was to avoid these factors that there was need to consider increasing the marriageable age of girls to 21 or more than 18, the bench said.
Another thing is that the parents were not able to monitor their daughters all the time. The visual media was having adverse impact on young girls. Most of the girls of 18 years say they married as per their wish. But parents would not like them to get married like that, it said.
Thiagarajan submitted that his daughter, an engineering student, married one Manohar. Manohar’s claim that he married his daughter was not true, he said and claimed police were not taking any action on his complaint.
He was anxious about his daughter’s future. However during police inquiry, the girl said she got married to Manohar.