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Law panel proposes marriage age for men from 21 to 18

Wednesday, 6 February 2008 - 2:27pm IST | Agency: PTI

The Law Commission has proposed that child marriage below 18 years of age for both girls and boys should be prohibited and that marriages below the age of 16 years be made void.

NEW DELHI: If men can vote at 18, they can also marry at that age, the Law Commission has suggested reducing the limit by three years from 21 and declaring marriage below 16 as illegal.

"He can vote at 18. He is considered a major at 18. So why can't they marry at 18," Kirti Uppal, Member of the Commission, said after the panel headed by AR
Lakshmanan submitted its report to Law Minister HR Bhardwaj on Wednesday.

"The age of marriage for both boys and girls should be 18 as there is no scientific reason why this should be different," the Commission said in its report.

It has also pressed for compulsory registration of marriages and recommended that men, just like women, should be allowed to wed at 18 and children below that age barred.

In its 44-page report, the Commission has also proposed that the age for sexual consent should be raised from 15 years to 16 years for all girls, regardless of marriage.

If accepted by the government, consensual sex with girls under 16 years of age could invite punishment meant for rape.

A man's sex with their minor 'wives,' aged below 16 years, could also become punishable. Under the existing laws, having sex with a minor 'wife' above 15 years is not rape.

Besides recommending compulsory registration of marriage, the Commission has proposed that marriages involving children between the age of 16 and 18 be made void (which can be annulled with mutual agreement between both the parties on attaining adulthood).

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