The Supreme Court issued notices to the Central and the Delhi and Rajasthan governments on Tuesday on a plea to transfer from high courts pending petitions on laying down a uniform minimum marriageable age for both women and men.
After Senior Advocate Geetha Luthra asked for the transfer of multiple petitions to the apex court for authoritative judgment, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde sought the response of the authorities concerned.
The transfer application was filed by Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay. She had earlier filed a writ petition challenging the different marriageable ages prescribed for Men and Women to which the apex court had issued notices to the respective governments.
The present transfer application has urged the Supreme Court to make a uniform marriageable age for both men and women considering that all the laws of the country prescribe a minimum of 18 years of age for women and 21 years for men which is the result of the stereotypical notions in our country considering women subservient than men.
The different ages for men and women are laid down by the following laws that are Section 60(1) of the Christian Marriage Act, 1872, Section 4 (c) of special marriage Act, Section 2 (a) of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, Section 3(1) (c) of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act and Section 5 (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act.
The petition says that while Men are married at 21, women are married off at the age of 18 which absolutely has no scientific backing and is a result of a Patriarchal System. It also argues that it is de jure and de facto inequality against women and is against Global Trends.
It additionally pointed out that the law commission had earlier stated that there is no scientific backing to the differentiation in Marriageable ages for men and women, rather it just contributes to the gender stereotype that women should be younger than men.
The Committee on Elimination of Discrimination of Women stated that some countries do follow having different marriageable ages for men and women.
The petition says that these provisions must be abolished as they assume incorrectly that women have a different rate of intellectual development than men or the stage of physical and intellectual development for women at the time of marriage is immaterial.
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