©Dr. Satywan Saurabh
-Research Scholar in Political Science, Delhi University
The Prime Minister, during his address to the nation on the 74th Independence Day, brought about a committee/legislation to reconsider the minimum age of marriage for women from Red Fort. These laws mandate the minimum age of child marriage to be made to prevent child marriage and abuse of minors. Different religions dealing with marriage have their own standards of personal laws.
The minimum age of marriage in India, especially for women, has always been a controversial subject, and whenever there is talk of changes in such rules, there has been strong resistance from social and religious conservatives. According to the current rules, the minimum age of marriage for men and women is 21 and 18 years respectively.
The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Jaya Jaitley to examine matters like maternal age, the imperative of reducing maternal mortality, and improvement in nutrition levels among women. It will examine the relation of the age of marriage and motherhood with pregnancy, birth and beyond, health, medical well-being, and nutritional status of the mother and newborn, baby or child.
The law will also look at key parameters like infant mortality (IMR), maternal mortality (MMR), the total fertility rate (TFR), the sex ratio at birth (SRB) and child sex ratio (CSR) and examine the possibility that Now whether it will be right to increase the age of marriage for women from the current 18 years to 21 years.
The link between age at marriage and nutritional age is a biologic fact, a study conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute showed that for young adults compared to the age of children born to adolescent mothers (10–19 years) Births (20–24 years) were 5% more likely to be stewed (less for their age), 11 percent more than children of adult mothers (25 years or older). Children born to adolescent mothers have 10 percentage points more weight than those who are underweight as adult mothers.
It also highlighted other factors, such as low education among adolescent mothers and their poor economic status, with the strongest relationship with child height and weight measurement. Above all, it was recommended that increasing age at first marriage, age at first birth, and girl’s education is a promising approach to improving maternal and child nutrition.
There does not appear to be any legal reasoning for the minimum age of women and men to be equal for marriage, although many people argue against it, but see this type of argument different rules Article 14 of the Constitution (Right to Equality) And violate Article 21 (right to live life with dignity). Different ages of women and men for marriage promotes orthodoxy in society. The difference in age of marriage for women and men has no basis in the law because the women and men involved in marriage are equal in every way and therefore every partnership should be equal.
On the other hand, there have also been arguments against increasing the minimum age of marriage for women,
The National Coalition for Adolescents claims that raising the legal age of marriage for girls only “artificially expands, criminalizes, and criminalizes the number of underage married individuals without any legal protection.” Girls have to be attracted to sex.
Among all this, there are many arguments in favor of increasing the minimum age of marriage of women. There is a need to bring gender-neutrality in the democratic era. There is a need to reduce the risks of early pregnancy in women. Early pregnancy is associated with increased child mortality and affects the mother’s health. Despite laws to reduce the minimum age and to have sex with a minor, child marriages are very prevalent in India.
Early pregnancy is associated with increased child mortality and affects the mother’s health. Thus, attention is needed to the mother’s health and readiness to carry a child. The government needs to emphasize the economic and social empowerment of women and girls, along with targeted social and behavior change communication campaigns, as well as raising the minimum age of marriage for women will increase gender-neutrality.
According to the data, 35000 women died due to complications during pregnancy and delivery in the year 2017 in India. It is true that in India, at the time when women should pay attention to their future and education, they are burdened with the burden of marriage, today there is a need for change in this orthodox practice in 21st century, which is empowering women This will prove to be an important step in the direction of.
Increasing the minimum age of marriage for women will give more time for women to get educated, enter colleges, and get higher education. With this decision, the entire Indian society, especially the lower economic class, will get an opportunity to progress.