A transfer plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking amendments in the marriageable age of women in the legal system and make the marriageable age for both men and women uniform. The petitioner claimed that the age difference has resulted in aggravating the gender inequality that exists in a marital relationship.
The petition is being moved by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhya and a similar petition of him is pending before the Delhi High Court. There is another person named Abdul Mannan who has filed a petition in Rajasthan High Court raising the similar issue. Therefore, Upadhyay is seeking to transfer the matter to the apex court.
Drawing attention to the power of the Supreme Court under Article 139A to allow matters with the same or substantially the same question of law and is pending before two or more High Courts should be transferred to the Supreme Court.
“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,” said the transfer petition. The petitioner is demanding the marriageable age for women to also be 21 as of men.
Updhyay raised the point that he had moved the petition in order to avoid the multiplicity of litigations and conflicting views on interpretation on Article 14, 15, and 21 and judgments involving gender justice and equality.
“While men are permitted to marry at the age of 21 years, women are permitted to marry at 18. This difference in stipulated age of marriage for men and women are based on patriarchal stereotypes, has no scientific backing, perpetrates de jure and de facto inequality against women, and goes completely against the global trends,” stated Upadhyay in his petition. He had mentioned all the provisions under different legislations which stipulate the marriage age 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.