Boys can marry at sweet 18

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Boys can marry at sweet 18

Suggesting radical changes, the Law Commission has proposed reducing the minimum age of marriage for men from 21 to 18 years and declaring unions below the age of 16 as void.

"The age of marriage for both boys and girls should be 18 as there is no scientific reason why this should be different," the Commission headed by A R Lakshmanan said in its report.

The suggestion by the Commission for declaring marriages below the age of 16 as void is something which has not been recommended in the statutes.

It has also pressed for compulsory registration of marriages and recommended that men, just like women, should be allowed to wed at 18 and children below that age barred.

In its 44-page report presented today to the Law and Justice Minister H R Bhardwaj, the Commission has also proposed that the age for sexual consent should be raised from 15 years to 16 years for all girls, regardless of marriage.

If accepted by the government, consensual sex with girls under 16 years of age could invite punishment meant for rape.

A man's sex with their minor ‘wives’, aged below 16 years, could also become punishable. Under the existing laws, having sex with a minor ‘wife’ above 15 years is not rape.

Besides recommending compulsory registration of marriage, the Commission has proposed that marriages involving children between the age of 16 and 18 be made voidable (which can be annuled with mutual agreement between both the parties on attaining adulthood).

While studying the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 (PCMA), the Commission found that the present law did not make a child marriage invalid even if it was below the age of 15 years. But under the criminal law, section 375 of IPC makes it a crime to have a sexual relation with a child under the age of 15 years.

Hey boys, isn't it good news :)

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