Legal Age of Marriage in India

Legal Age of Marriage in India 2023

What is the permissible age for marriage for boys in India? Did the government raise the legal marriage age for girls to 21 years in 2023? CurioBlog provides insights into the concept of age of consent within Indian marriage law through the following blog.

Marriage customs in India vary across communities. While some groups tend to wait until their late twenties or early thirties, others may not adhere to the legal age for marriage in India. Indian marriage laws, respecting diverse religious beliefs, establish the legal age for marriage. These laws primarily emphasize the age of consent to prevent child marriages. Discover the legally recognized age for marriage for both boys and girls in the blog below, and explore the discussions around increasing the legal marriage age for girls in India in 2023.

Historically, Hinduism did not prescribe any specific age limit for marriage. The concept of age of consent was introduced through the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955. According to Section 5 (iii) of the Act, the groom should have reached the age of 21, while the bride should have attained the age of 18 at the time of marriage. This same age of consent for marriage in India is upheld in the conditions related to solemnization of special marriages under Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act of 1954. The Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929, as well as the more recent Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006, prohibits marriage before the age of maturity. There is a proposed amendment to increase the legal marriage age for girls in India to 21 years in 2022. However, these amendments are still pending approval by the parliament before becoming effective. If you come across instances of child marriage in violation of applicable laws, please report them to the authorities through family lawyers in India.

Marriage Age for Girls in India 2023

In most personal laws and under the Special Marriage Act of 1954, the legally recognized age for marriage for women in India is set at 18 and above. However, for Muslims, marriage eligibility is often determined by reaching the age of puberty. Typically, girls above the age of 15 are considered to have reached the legal age for marriage in India. Nonetheless, recent proposals suggest increasing the legal marriage age for girls in India to 21 years in 2022. It’s worth noting that data on child marriages indicates a contrary trend in societal practices.

In Indian law, husbands are legally responsible for the maintenance of their wives, which is why the legal marriage age for males is higher than that for females. In general, a male is required to be at least 21 years old to marry in accordance with marriage laws. Among Muslim men, reaching puberty is often seen as the threshold for marriage.

Best Age to Get Married According to Science

Marriage is the most common form of cultural union in human society, primarily for procreation. Although the rituals may differ, the ultimate goal is to establish a legally recognized union between a man and a woman within civil society.

When examining the ideal marriage age for girls and boys from a reproductive science perspective, puberty is often considered a significant milestone. Puberty signifies the age at which a person’s body undergoes the necessary developments to become an adult. Typically, girls experience puberty between the ages of 10 to 15, while boys go through it around 13 to 16 years old. However, early marriage for girls who have just reached puberty is associated with a higher maternal mortality rate.

Also Read: Mutual Consent Divorce in India

From a psychological standpoint, maturity doesn’t necessarily correlate with age but rather with life experiences. Marriage requires a significant level of maturity from both girls and boys.

Scientific research does not provide a definitive answer regarding the ideal age for marriage. Some studies suggest that people who marry between the ages of 28 to 32 are less likely to divorce. Other research indicates that the optimal age for marriage, according to science, falls between 24 to 30 years. However, researchers acknowledge that everyone’s life is unique, and no single age fits all. Each individual faces their own challenges, and married life presents different hurdles for different people. Consequently, relying solely on scientific data may not offer clear guidance on whether to marry early or wait until one’s late twenties.

Is 21 the right age to get married?

There is no universally “right” age to get married; it depends on an individual’s readiness. Marriage in India entails a significant responsibility, both legally and socially. An individual should be financially, mentally, and physically prepared to embark on married life.

Why should girls get married at age 21?

The matter is under discussion by the Government of India regarding raising the minimum legal marriage age for girls from 18 to 21. The legal age for boys in India is already 21. Girls marrying at or after the age of 21 would have the opportunity to complete their higher education and start a career. By the age of 18, some girls have yet to finish their schooling and are married off. Increasing the marriage age may provide more girls with the chance to become independent and make their own decisions.

Should the legal marriage age be raised to 21?

The proposed increase in the legal marriage age for girls in India from 18 to 21 depends on various factors. It could reinforce the provisions of the Child Marriage Restraint Act and allow women to prioritize education and careers. It may also positively impact maternal mortality rates in India.

Can a girl marry at the age of 18 in India in 2023?

In the current scenario, the legal marriage age in India for girls and boys in 2023 is 18 and 21, respectively. If the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill of 2021 is passed with a majority in both houses of the Indian Parliament, the legal marriage age will be 21 for both boys and girls.

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