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SC rejects same marriage age for women, men

“Mere striking down of the provision which sets 18-year age will lead to no minimum age of marriage for women.”

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court rejected a plea seeking increasing the marriageable age of girls from existing 18 years to 21 years that is at par with the marriageable age of boys saying that the issue falls within the domain of parliament and it is not for the courts to legislate.

As the petitioner sought to impress upon the court that fixing marriageable for girls at 18 and that of boys at 21 was “arbitrary,” Chief Justice DY Chandrachud headed a bench also comprising Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala said that the court can strike down 18 years age for girls but then it will take away the minimum age for the marriage of the girls but cannot increase it to 21 years.

Chief Justice Chandrachud said that it can strike down, if persuaded, the minimum marriageable age of 18 years for girls but cannot rule that it should be 21 at par with that of boys as it comes within the domain of law making and the law making field is reserved for the parliament.

“Mere striking down of the provision which sets 18-year age will lead to no minimum age of marriage for women. It is trite law that under Article 32 this court cannot issue mandamus to parliament to legislate nor can the court legislate,” the Court underlined.

As the petitioner advocate Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay said that top court was the custodian of the constitution, CJI Chandrachud said that parliament was as much a custodian of the constitution as the Supreme Court under Article 32 and not everything can come at the doorsteps of the Supreme court by invoking Article 32. Under Article 32 a citizen can approach the top court for the protection of the fundamental rights.

The petitioner Upadhyay was in for being deprecated by the CJI Chandrachud as he said that the matter was transferred from Delhi High Court to Supreme court and if it was to be disposed of then why was it transferred to top court.

Unwilling to take a comment coming from an advocate and obviously irked, the Chief Justice said: “We don’t want your gratuitous comment on us. We are doing our duty. We are not here to please you or any section of the polity. Don’t you give me gratuitous comments. This is not a political forum. We don’t owe you an explanation.”