Legal Age of Marriage in India


Posted On : December 7, 2022
Legal Age of Marriage in India
What is the legal age of marriage in India for boys? Did the government increase the marriage age for girl in India 2022 to 21 years? Vidhikarya helps understand the concept of age of consent as per marriage law in India through the blog below.
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Weddings in India are community based practice. While in some groups, it is common to wait till late twenties or early thirties, others even hardly wait until the legal age for marriage in India. Marriage law in India respecting various religious beliefs lays the legal age of marriage in India. Laws mainly uphold the age of consent for weddings in India, thereby prohibiting child marriage. Understand what is the legal age of marriage in India for boys and girls in the blog below. Also explore the buzz around increasing the marriage age for girl in India 2022.

 

Legal Age of Marriage in India 2022

Marriage in Hinduism lacks any trace of age limit as per history. The concept of age of consent was introduced through the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. As per Section 5 (iii) of the Act, the boy should have completed 21 years, while the bride should have completed the age of 18 years at the time of marriage. Even the conditions related to solemnization of special marriages under Section 4 of Special Marriage Act, 1954 lays the same age of consent for marriage in India. The Child Marriage Restraint Act (1929) and even the latest Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 prohibits marriage before the age of maturity. The legal age for marriage in India is being proposed to be amended, increasing the marriage age for girl in India 2022 from 18 to 21 years. However, the amendments are yet to be passed by the parliament and come into effect. If you notice someone organizing child marriage against the applicable laws, contact the authorities through family lawyers in India.

 

Marriage Age for Girl in India 2022

In most of the personal laws as well as the Special Marriage Act, 1954, women's legal age of marriage in India is barred to 18 and above. However, in the case of Muslims, attaining the age of puberty is the indicator for a marriage contract. Usually, girls above the age of 15 years are said to have attained the legal age of marriage in India. Although recently, the marriage age for girl in India 2022 is being proposed to be increased to 21 years. However, the events of child marriage as per data reveals the societal mindset heading towards the contrary.

 

Legal Age for Marriage in India 2022 for Boy

The law of the land holds the husband responsible for maintenance of wife. That is the reason why the legal age of marriage in India for males is higher than that of females. In the usual scenario, a male should have crossed the age of 21 years in order to get married as per the marriage law. The legal age for marriage among Muslim men is said to be marked with attaining puberty. 

 

Best Age to Get Married According to Science

Marriage has become the most common cultural union in human society for procreation. Although the rituals may vary, ultimately the aim is to form a union of man and woman legally acceptable in the civil society.

If we take reproduction science for understanding the marriage age in India for girl and boy, puberty may be the measure. Puberty means the age at which a person’s body undergoes reproductive developments transforming into an adult. For girls, it usually happens between 10-15 years. For boys, the age surrounds 13-16 year olds. However, the maternal mortality rate is higher in girls who get married soon after attaining the age of puberty.

Even if the psychological aspect is focused upon, maturity does not come with age but experience. Marriage requires a lot of maturity for both girls and boys.

Scientific research does not reveal any hard and fast rule for when a person should get married. However, some reports have revealed data based research which prove that people married between the age of 28 to 32 years are less likely to divorce their spouse. Some research reveals that the best age to get married according to science is 24 to 30 years. But even researchers agree that nobody’s life goes smooth and similar to others. Everyone has his/ her own storms to deal with, and married life also experiences hiccups for different individuals. Thus, relying on scientific data won’t help in deciding whether someone should get married early or wait for their late twenties. 

 

NFHS-5 Data (National Family Health Survey) Year 2019-21

 

Marriage and Fertility in India (in %)

Urban

Rural

Total

Comparison with Total in NFHS-4 (2015-16)

Women age 20-24 years married before age 18 years

14.7

27.0

 23.3

26.8

Men age 25-29 years married before age 21 years

11.3

21.1

17.7

20.3

Total fertility rate (children per woman)

1.6

2.1

2.0

2.2

Women age 15-19 years who were already mothers or pregnant at the time of the survey

3.8

7.9

6.8

7.9

Adolescent fertility rate for women age 15-19 years

27`

49

43

51

For complete pdf file containing NFHS-5 survey report - Click Here.

 

FAQs on Legal Age of Marriage in India

 

Q- Is 21 the right age to get married?

A- No age is the right age to get married until the person is ready to take up the responsibility. Marriage in India is a civil union. It is a package full of responsibilities, be it legal or societal. One should be financially, mentally and physically stable enough to kick start with married life.

 

Q- Why should girls get married at age 21?

A- The matter is under discussion by the Government of India for raising the minimum legal age of marriage in India from 18 to 21 years for girls. It is already 21 for boys in India. Girls getting married at or after the age of 21 years will have a chance to complete their higher education and start a career. By the age of 18 years, they hardly complete their schools while some of them are married off. If increasing the age of marriage brings more girls into higher education followed by employment, it will grant them a chance to become independent and decide for themselves. 

 

Q- Should the age of marriage be raised to 21?

A- The legal age of marriage in India for girls is proposed to be increased from 18 to 21 years. Whether the marriage age for girl in India 2022 should be increased or not depends upon various factors. It will empower the Child Marriage Restraint Act provisions, it will allow women to prioritize their education and career. Increasing the legal age of marriage for girls in India may also have a positive impact on the maternal mortality rate in India. 

 

Q- Can a girl marry at the age of 18 in India in 2022?

A- In the current scenario, legal marriage age in India for girl and boy 2022 is 18 and 21 years respectively. If the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 is passed this year with a majority in both the houses of Parliament of India, it will be 21 years for both boys and girls.

Written By:
Ridhi Khurana

Ridhi Khurana

Gurgaon

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