SC points discover of submission of petitions from excessive courts for uniform age at marriage for women and men
While the Supreme Court was raising a petition, it released a notice to forward pending petitions filed with the Delhi Supreme Court and the Rajasthan Supreme Court addressing the issue of the uniform age of marriage for men and women.
The petitioner, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, requested the transfer of pending petitions from the High Court to the Supreme Court.
The lawyer representing the petitioner stated that the plea was brought in order to avoid a multitude of legal disputes, conflicting interpretations of Articles 14, 15 and 21 and the judgments on equality and gender equality.
The petitioner stated that the difference in their age at marriage was not supported by any reasonable explanation other than patriarchal stereotypes. The plea goes on to say that such a distinction violates women’s equality and runs counter to global trends.
The petitioner also cited some sections of personal laws such as Section 5 (iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 and Section 3 (1) © of the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act of 1936 to highlight the discriminatory nature of the age of marriage.
The plea included an obligation on India to grant women equal rights as it is a signatory to CEDAW [Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women]. Under this convention, India is obliged to take action to eliminate differences created by customs, stereotypes and all other practices.
The petitioner stated that the existence of such practices increases discrimination and arbitrariness and violates the rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 15 and 21.
The plea also highlighted the unequal powers in the hands of husband and wife, thereby affecting the marital relationship.
In order to ensure equality, the petitioner has brought this plea so that all objections can be resolved in a joint case by the Apex Court.
The petitioner also asked the central government for alternative relief, praying that it would take the necessary measures to correct the anomalies present in the required minimum age of marriage.