38.6c New Delhi, India, Wednesday, April 24, 2024
Judiciary

Plea in SC Demands Uniform Age of Marriage & Transfer of Similar Pleas from High Courts

By Arundhuti Deshmukh      24 October, 2020 10:03 PM      0 Comments
Plea in SC Demands Uniform Age of Marriage & Transfer of Similar Pleas from High Courts

A transfer petition filed in the Supreme Court demanding uniform marriageable age of 21 years for men and women claims that the disparity in age of marriage has resulted in aggravating the gender inequality that exists within a marital relationship.

Filed on behalf of Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay, the plea states that it has been filed in order to avoid the multiplicity of litigations and conflicting views on the interpretation of Articles 14, 15 & 21 and judgments involving gender justice & equality. He demands that his petition pending with the Delhi high court is transferred to the Supreme Court along with a similar petition filed by one Abdul Mannan, pending with the Rajasthan high court. 

Since the issues raised in the two petitions are similar, Upadhyay invoked the power of the Supreme Court under Article 139A which allows cases involving the same or substantially the same questions of law, pending before two or more high courts, to be transferred to the Supreme Court.

The transfer petition said, “While men are permitted to get married at the age of 21, women are married when they are just 18. The distinction is based on patriarchal stereotypes, has no scientific backing, perpetrates de jure and de facto inequality against women, and goes completely against the global trends.”

The plea goes on to emphasize the provisions under various legislations which stipulate the age of marriage as being discriminatory:

Section 60(1) of the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872; Section 3(1)(c) of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936; Section 4(c) of the Special Marriage Act, 1954; Section 5(iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955; Section 2(a) of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. 

The petition claimed that 125 countries have a uniform minimum age of marriage for boys and girls and by ending the discrimination in age, women will have equal opportunities as men to pursue their education, employment opportunities without being hindered by the family compulsion to get married.

He has also elaborated that India's International Human Rights obligations under the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women ("CEDAW"), which it ratified in 1993, inform the content of Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Constitution which obliges state parties "take all appropriate measures… [t]o modify social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women."

In this context, the petitioner has stated that any provision that perpetrates or reinforces discriminatory stereotypes against a class of persons is manifestly arbitrary and a fortiori violative of Articles 14, 15, and 21.

"Differential age limit is based solely on stereotypes. The Law Commission has observed that there exists no scientific basis for such distinction and that differential limit "simply contributes to the stereotype that wives must be younger than their husbands". Likewise, the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women has noted that: "Some countries provide for different ages for marriage for men and women. As such provisions assume incorrectly that women have a different rate of intellectual development from men, or that their stage of physical and intellectual development at marriage is immaterial, these provisions should be abolished. In other countries, the betrothal of girls or undertakings by family members on their behalf is permitted. Such measures contravene not only the Convention but also women's right freely to choose her partner." 

- Excerpt of Plea by Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay

Upadhyay argued that women in a married relationship are expected to perform a subordinate role vis-à-vis the husband. “This power imbalance is deeply aggravated by the age differential because age itself constitutes a hierarchy of power. A younger spouse is therefore expected to respect and be servile to her elder partner, which aggravates the pre-existing gender-based hierarchy in the marital relationship,” his petition stated.

He raised the demand for the uniform minimum age of marriage before the Delhi high court in August last year. On August 19, 2019, the Delhi HC issued notice to the Centre for its response. Around the same time, another petition came to be filed before the Rajasthan HC raising the same issue. The Rajasthan HC issued notice to the Centre on Abdul Mannan’s plea on February 5, 2020.

Both petitions have said that the marriageable age discrimination is a violation of fundamental rights of equality (Article 14), protection against discrimination (Article 15), and dignity of life (Article 21) and also India’s commitment under the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).



Share this article:



Leave a feedback about this
TRENDING NEWS

denying-child-care-leave-to-working-mothers-of-disabled-children-violated-constitutional-mandate-sc
Trending Judiciary
Denying child care leave to working mothers of disabled children violated constitutional mandate: SC

Supreme Court of India rules denying child care leave for mothers of disabled kids violates constitutional rights.

23 April, 2024 11:15 AM
ignorance-is-not-bliss-okhla-waste-to-energy-plant-needs-to-be-relocated-residents-argue
Trending Environment
Ignorance is not bliss: Okhla Waste to Energy Plant needs to be relocated, residents argue

Questions on the suitability of waste-to-energy plants in Delhi are not new, but the 2,000 tonnes per day Waste to Energy (WTE) plant, situated in the middle of the dense residential areas around Sukhdev Vihar, is not just a major environmental worry but an example of how siting rules can be bent to accommodate a heavily polluting enterprise.

23 April, 2024 12:29 PM

TOP STORIES

pil-filed-by-ashwini-kumar-upadhyay-in-sc-for-yr-bachelor-of-law-degree-after-class
Trending Judiciary
PIL filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in SC for 3-yr Bachelor of Law degree after Class XII

PIL by Ashwini Kumar in SC seeks to shorten law degree to 3 years post-Class XII, citing current 5-year span as irrational.

18 April, 2024 11:21 AM
centre-sets-up-high-powered-committee-to-suggest-measures-to-end-discrimination-against-queer-community
Trending Executive
Centre sets up high-powered committee to suggest measures to end discrimination against queer community [Read Order]

Centre forms committee to end discrimination against the queer community, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, following a Supreme Court directive.

18 April, 2024 12:11 PM
after-karnataka-hc-delhi-hc-sets-aside-government-circular-banning-23-ferocious-dog-breeds
Trending Judiciary
After Karnataka HC, Delhi HC sets aside Government circular banning 23 'ferocious' dog breeds [Read Judgement]

After Karnataka High Court, the Delhi High Court has set aside a Government circular banning 23 'ferocious' dog breeds.

18 April, 2024 01:06 PM
for-wrong-decision-of-suicide-by-person-of-frail-mentality-who-is-to-be-blamed-delhi-hc-gives-view
Trending Judiciary
For wrong decision of suicide by person of 'frail mentality', who is to be blamed? Delhi HC gives view [Read Judgment]

If a man of 'frail mentality' takes the wrong decision to commit suicide, who is to be blamed? Delhi High Court gives a prima facie opinion in the matter.

18 April, 2024 03:23 PM

ADVERTISEMENT


Join Group

Signup for Our Newsletter

Get Exclusive access to members only content by email