Libertatem Magazine

Whether the Age of Majority Needs to Be Revised? Punjab & Haryana HC Asks the Union and the State

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The High Court felt the need to issue notice seeking views on whether there was a need for an increase in the age of majority as the Indian Majority Act, 1875 was enacted more than 150 years ago and that the circumstances in which the law was legislated had changed.

Background of the Case

A petition was filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, by petitioners, a couple who are stated to be in a live-in relationship-seeking protection from the father and brother (respondents) of one of the petitioners’. However, the Court could not proceed with the matter as there was no firm proof pertaining to the age of the petitioners. Hence, on 29th June, 2021, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the State of Haryana to determine the age of the couple. The Court had directed a gazetted officer to file a reply to the petition after ascertaining the age of the petitioners upon verifying school records.

Submissions before the Court

The petition was filed seeking for the petitioner’s protection from the hands of the respondents. According to the petitioners their life and liberty were in danger.

On the basis of the direction that was issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the school records were verified. Thereafter, on 14th July, 2021 an affidavit filed by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, wherein it was stated that the petitioner’s school records were verified and their age was recorded to be 21 and 19.

Observations of the High Court

The bench constituted by Justice Amol Rattan Singh considered the petition and the affidavit and observed that the petitioners had to be considered to be adults according to the Indian Majority Act, 1875 as their school records showed that they were above 18 years of age. According to the High Court,

if they have chosen to live together and have at least not admitted any marriage between them, there would therefore be no question of invocation of the provisions of Child Marriage Act, 2006.”

Decision of the Court

The High Court held that there was nothing to be done in the matter other than to ensure that the life and liberty of the petitioners were protected. Additionally, the High Court issued a notice to the Union, the State of Punjab and Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh seeking its view on “whether the age of majority needs to be revised or not.”

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