NO PUNISHMENT FOR A MALE BETWEEN 18-21 YEARS FOR MARRYING A FEMALE ADULT

-Khushi Sharma

BACKGROUND (Male Female Adult)

Supreme Court in a recent judgment held that a male aged between 18 and 21 will not be punished for marrying a female adult. By providing sufficient closures to many doubts, in this case, Supreme Court declares that section 9 of the prohibition of child marriage, Act 2006 will not be highlighted in this case and the male will not be punished under the said legislation.

The court, in this case, clarified that they do not want to comment on the validity of the marriage entered into by a male aged between 18 and 21 with a female adult. Further by clearly evaluating the legislation of prohibition of the child marriage, Act 2006 the judgment was passed. The court also added that no order for protection to the police will be passed if the couple is living happily together.

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CURRENT ISSUE (Male Female Adult)

In this case, the appellant and respondent got married to each other without the consent of their parents and subsequently, the parents of the respondent were creating problems for the couple so due to which they approached the Punjab high court for seeking police protection. The high court permitted the order of police protection.

 But later the order of the police protection was impugned due to the application filed by the father of the respondent claiming that according to the school record when the respondent got married, he was aged like 17 years which brought light upon section 9 of prohibition of child marriage, Act 2006 and directed a registration of FIR and the order of police protection was impugned with an interim order. After listening to the counsel of both parties, the court made a certain observation concerning the facts of the case.

QUESTION OF LAW

The court, in this case, was held of the opinion that Act of 2006 does not make any provision of punishment regarding a female adult who marries a male aged between 18 and 21 so the actual interpretation which comes into the line is that no punishment will be provided to the female adult who marries a male aged between 18 and 21 but the young male will be punished for contracting a child marriage though he is a child. According to the view of the court, such interpretation goes beyond the objectivity of said act.

The Supreme Court further passed an order explaining that section 9 of the prohibition of child marriage act does not apply to the case at all as:

“Section 9. Punishment for male adult marrying a child. Whoever, being a male adult above eighteen years of age, contracts a child marriage shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.”

As according to the school record accepted by the high court the age of the respondent at the time of the marriage is said to be 17 years, so technically section 9 cannot be applied to him as section 9 of prohibition of child marriage, Act 2006 clearly states “a male adult of 18 years of age” but the respondent was 17 when he contracted the marriage thus this section will not be applied in this case.

CONCLUSION

The court rightly observed every fact and thus provided a fair decision in this case as section 9 was restrictive towards the age ambit and according to that, it did not highlight ages below 18. And if the punishment, in this case, would be provided to the male and not the female adult, it would not be correct and dislocate the very objectivity of the Act as well. Moreover, punishing a male for contracting the marriage who is himself a child and not punishing the female who is an adult will not be a fair decision.

If the couple is happy in their life and the marital relationship is sound and fine, then bringing legality upon the validity of the marriage will be unnecessary efforts which will break the privacy of the relationship. Further looking upon the legal loopholes the high court should not have recalled the police order after the application of the father as the order of protection becomes a necessity and recalling it stand futile. And siding upon what the court said that there is no need to comment upon the validity of the marriage as long as the couple is happy in their life.

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