Report No. 15
Another condition for a valid marriage under the proposed legislation is, that "the bridegroom has completed the age of eighteen years and the bride the age of fifteen years at the time of the marriage". Under section 60 of the Christian Marriage Act, 1872 as amended in 1952, it is a condition of marriage between Indian Christians that the age of the bridegroom shall not be under eighteen years and the age of the bride shall not be under fifteen years. We have adopted this as a condition of all marriages solemnised under the proposed legislation.
Consent of guardian (Guardianship).-We have also provided that where the bride is a minor, the consent of her guardian must have been obtained. That is because marriage, like other contracts, pre-supposes contractual capacity in the parties; and as a minor cannot, under the law, consent to a contract, her guardian has to act for her. On this, two questions arise for consideration:
(i) who are the persons who can act as guardian for this purpose, and
(ii) what is to happen if the guardian refuses to consent, without just cause. On the first question, the witnesses are for liberalising the list of guardians, and for including de facto guardians also therein. We have, conformably to their evidence, provided for a long category of guardians. As for including de facto guardians in the list, we have, on full consideration, come to the conclusion that they can obtain leave of the district court, and need not be specially mentioned.