The Uttarakhand High Court issued notice on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking uniform law with regard to the age of marriage of the girls, irrespective of their religious beliefs.
According to the Counsel for the petitioner , by permitting marriage of girls below the age of maturity leads to their exploitation .
The Parliament has enacted the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. The purpose which is to provide for the prohibition of solemnization of child marriages and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It applies to the whole of India and it also applies to all citizens of India without and beyond India. The only exception carved out is in respect of renoncants of the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
The child has been defined to mean a person, who, if a male has not completed twenty-one years of age, and if a female, who has not completed eighteen years of age. The child marriage is defined asa marriage to which either of the contractingparties is a child.
Though in the existing law there are no specific provisions prohibiting child marriages, punishment is prescribed for persons involved in the conduct of a childmarriage , alleged the PIL .
The petitioner has pointed out that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment)Bill, 2021 has been prepared. The purpose of the bill being as under:-
“(i) amend the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,2006, to reinforce its application overriding all otherexisting laws, including any custom, usage or practicegoverning the parties in relation to marriage;
(ii) bring women at par with men in terms of marriageable age;
(iii) prohibit child marriage irrespective of any law,custom, usage or practice governing the parties;
(iv) declare that provisions of the Act shall have an overriding effect over every other law, custom, usageor practice governing the parties.”
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Ramesh Chandra Khulbe while observing that the petitioner has raised in the PIL an important question concerning the society at large issued notice to the respondents and directed the respondents file their respective counter affidavit and indicate their respective stand with regard to the prohibition of childmarriage.
The Court posted the matter on 11.10.2022 for further hearing.