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NCW moves SC to raise minimum age of marriage for Muslim women

NCW vs Union of India and ors

2023-Feb-03

Marriageable age of a Muslim woman is considered to be over 15 years under the personal law.

The Supreme Court sought the Centre’s response to a plea by the National Commission for Women (NCW) seeking directions to increase the marriageable age for Muslim women and make it on par with that of women of other religions.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha issued notice on the PIL filed “for the enforcement of the rights of minor Muslim women, guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Constitution of India…” 

Appearing for the Commission, Senior Advocate Geetha Luthra said this is arbitrary, irrational and discriminatory but also violative of the provisions of penal laws like Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

The laws, it said, are age-centric and make no exception for children of any particular religion, it said, adding that the classification on the basis of ‘puberty’ has no scientific backing nor any reasonable nexus with the capacity to get married.

“A person who has attained puberty may be biologically capable of reproduction, however, the same does not imply that the said person is mentally or physiologically mature enough to engage in sexual acts and consequently, to bear children,” said the plea.

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