SC dismisses plea to lower marriageable age of men

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a PIL petition seeking a judicial order to lower the legal marriageable age of men from 21 to 18 years. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi imposed Rs. 25,000 costs on petitioner-lawyer Asok Pande, and said there was no public interest in his petition. Mr. Pande argued that men could join the Army or vote at the age of 18, then why not marry. “If any 18-year-old person approaches us with such kind of a petition, then we will give him the cost deposited by you [Mr. Pande],” Justice Gogoi observed orally. The Bench said in such cases, the affected persons should come to court. The petition challenged the provisions of the Child Marriage Restraint Act, the Special Marriage Act and the Hindu Marriage Act, which deal with the minimum marriageable age for men and alleged that they were violative of various fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution. It contended that the provisions were “unreasonable, unjust and improper” and also violative of Article 15 which prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

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