A bill to increase the marriageable age of women from 18 years to 21 years via amendment in Prohibition of Child Marriages Act, 2021 was brought in by an MP Smriti Irani in the parliament. It went for consideration to the parliamentary committee for further discussion. The Bill proposes to pass an amendment in the 2006 law. It seeks to define ‘child’ under the said Act which stipulates that “ a child means a male or female who has not completed twenty one years of age.
This duly came to the notice of other parliamentarians which opposed the haste with which it was brought in. The only contention to the said Act was that forecasts a rosy picture wherein the already discriminated women faces backlash in other areas such as public employment , gender parity in schools and education . However, this said Act also stipulates that raising the age from 18 to 21 will surely brought in enough gender freedom in case of giving women enough time at par with male to grow up suitably for handling the responsibility of marriage.
While most of the minority communities did not oppose to the proposed Bill however they raised a plausible doubt of whether any changes in personal laws of certain community which is Islam which is governed by Shariat law , in first would be appropriate as they did not either stipulate such change nor do they have any extra constitutionality position. Hence a change in their personal laws would be needed to be able to do it with swift change that the legislation requires.
The many reasons via which this Bill is sought to be enforced is that first it provides equal opportunity to men and women to enter into matrimonial relation. Secondly, it brings down the incidences of teenage pregnancies. It also lowers downs the infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate. It seeks to improve nutrition levels, mental well being, sex ratio at birth. It might aid women to continue education and livelihood after an early marriage