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Report No. 205

Proposal to Amend The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 and other Allied Laws

Chapter I

Introduction

The Supreme Court of India, in Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 81 of 2006, has requested the Law Commission to assist it with certain issues relating to child marriage. The Supreme Court in its order dated 27.3.2006 has also noted that different laws specify different ages while defining a child and there are various contradictions between these legislations.

The Writ Petition, which has been filed by the Delhi State Commission for Women and the National Commission for Women, points out that while the word, "child" is defined as any person below the age of 18 in the Indian Majority Act and The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000, it was 18 for girls and 21 for boys in the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 (hereafter CMRA).

The Hindu Marriage Act also prescribes the same minimum ages for a marriage. The Writ Petition further states that though the Indian Penal Code contains no definition of the word "child", the age of consent for the girl for sexual intercourse is 16 under Section 375 IPC while in married couples the age of consent is presumed to be 15. According to the Petitioner the Shariat allows marriage at the age of 15.



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