A bill is likely to be introduced to raise the legal marriage age for women from 18 to 21 years.
India: Fri, 31 Dec 2021 23:31, by: Staff Reporters

The government, according to reports, has decided to raise the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years, putting it in line with that of men.

The government, according to reports, has decided to raise the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years, putting it in line with that of men.

According to sources, the Union Cabinet approved a proposal on Wednesday to bring consistency to the marriageable age of men and women.

The administration is expected to introduce a bill to alter the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, during the current Winter Session of Parliament, they added.

According to the sources, the proposed bill may seek to make significant modifications to numerous personal laws relating to marriage in various communities in order to ensure a uniform marriage age.

Women are currently allowed to marry at the age of 18, while men are allowed to marry at the age of 21.

The decision comes a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the government was debating the appropriate age for women to marry.

The decision was made after a four-member task team led by former Samata Party chief Jaya Jaitly recommended it.

Ms Jaitly stated that there were two key grounds for the recommendation.

"If we talk about gender equity and gender empowerment in every field, then we can't leave marriage out because this is a very odd message that girl can be fit to be married at 18 that cuts away her opportunity to go to college and the man has the opportunity to prepare himself for life and earning up to 21. But these days when girls are capable of doing so much and the main reason why they are married off is because they are not an income-earning member of the family but why do we allow them that feeling," she has said. 

"We should give them an opportunity to earn and be equal to a man and she can't become equal at 18 when a man has 21 years to do that. Secondly, we took opinions from lots of people but the main people who were most attentive were stakeholders themselves. We conducted assessment calls with young people - universities, colleges and rural areas where they are still at school or getting out of school and the unanimous opinion of stakeholders was the marriageable age to be 22 or 23. Across all religions everyone had the same opinion which was a very heartening thing," she added. 

Last December, the task force submitted its recommendations to the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and the NITI Aayog, according to Ms Jaitly.

Dr V.K. Paul, Member (Health) NITI Aayog, secretary of higher education, school education, health, women and child development, legislative department, and academicians Najma Akhtar, Vasudha Kamat, and Dipti Shah are among the other members of the panel.


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