The Supreme Court held that any male aged between 18 to 21 years engaged to a female who is also an adult, could not be punished under Section 9 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
The father of the girl went to the Punjab and Haryana HC complaining that the male who had married his was in effect 17 years old at the time of marriage. The court was supplied with school records which confirmed the statement of the father and hence booked the boy under the provisions of Section 9 of the Prevention of Child Marriage. In an appeal moved by the boy to the apex court of the country, a bench consisting of Justice Mohan M. Shanthanagoudar and Justice Aniruddha Bose held that the Hc went outside the ambit of its powers in recalling the order passed under Section 482 CrPC as it states no provision where a HC can do so in cases of criminal matter.
The apex court noted that the girl was an adult and concurred that “the 2006 Act does not make any provision for punishing a female adult who marries a male child…..Nowhere from this discussion is it gleaned that the legislators sought to punish a male between the age of 18 and 21 years who contract into a marriage with a female adult.”
The SC held that the Act did not move to consider the validity of a marriage entered into by a minor man and an adult woman. In such case4s, the male still has a remedy open to him under Section 3 of the 2006 Act.