Karnataka High Court thinks marriage of an adult female below 21 should be declared null and void unless it has her parents’ approval. Please note, they did not suggest raising the age of marriage to 21 in Arranged Marriages, only in Choice Marriages. (Generally called Love Marriages).
Why this news bothers me,
1. Indians parents are known to force their daughters to Get Married and Stay married (or die trying).
2. Arranging marriages for daughters is seen as a challenging task and Indian parents need laws to stop them from aborting daughters to avoid these challenges.
3. Indian parents frequently choose creating a good impression on their neighbors over their children’s happiness.
4. And now we know that India is the most dangerous country for a girl child because of the above reasons (and related issues).
Read what Karnataka High Court has to say about choice marriages, when women are younger than 21 years of age. (Link shared by Nish Sivakumar, thanks Nish!)
“In the past one-and-a-half months, in six cases, the high court of Karnataka has asked girls who are over 18 but less than 21 years of age to return to their parents’ home, after being ‘married’.
The legally permissible age for marriage for women, under the Constitution, is 18 years.
Girls over 18 years but less than 21 years of age were produced in court, and told to go with their parents. Evidence of marriage—photographs showing the exchange of garlands and tying of the marital knot — have not helped.
In all these cases, the judgment cited was issued in the high court on May 12, 2011: “We have seen many cases of run-away love marriages and untold misery and hardship of the parents and the girls. All the love marriages are not successful. In the event of failure of the love marriage of the girl, it is the girl and her parents who have to suffer…The girls, later on, realise their mistake that they were hasty in love marriage and repent at leisure. (sic)” [Link]
Please read at the bottom of this post how Indian parents deal with any problems in marriages that they arrange for their daughters.
The Karnataka High Court has proposed that the law be amended to allow arranged marriage for girls at 18 and love marriage only at 21. A division bench of the High Court was of the view that girls should not be allowed to choose their partners on their own till they turn 21.
The Khaps would love this. Watch them say almost exactly the same thing in ‘Izzatnagar ki Asabhya Betiyan’, a documentary by Nakul S Sawhney. Trailer here.
“In our opinion, the girls below the age of 21 years are not capable of forming a rational judgment as to the suitability of the boy, with whom they are in love. It is relevant to mention that those girls, who are suffering from hormonal imbalance easily fall prey to the boys and fall in love, marry and repent at leisure,” the judges said in an order…
Hormonal imbalance was why Khaps said they were against Choice Marriages. Please note, the same girls can be held responsible for everything else that happens to them.
‘Justice K Bhakthavatsala and Justice K Govindarajulu stressed that the Parliament had not taken into account love marriages when the Bill was introduced. “Since the Hindu Marriage Act does not deal with love marriages, in our view, it is high time that the Parliament take note of the sufferings of such girls and their parents and amend the law suitably,” the judges said.
They suggested that run-away marriages of girls under 21 be declared void or voidable.”‘ [link]
Please read on,
…The court further observed that… “Parents should choose the boy for a girl aged below 21, as it is they who bear the brunt of an unsuccessful marriage,” the Bench said.
To see how average Indian parents ‘bear the brunt of an unsuccessful marriage’ they have arranged, please check the list at the bottom of this post.
Don’t you think it would be more practical to encourage young women to be self reliant?
The same news is reported a little differently here but the basic point about approval of parents needed for love marriages before a girl turns 21 remains.
“The father of the girl lodged a missing person complaint, and Avinash, in a bid to have his ‘wife’ returned to him, had filed another complaint.
However, in that case, Avinash had not turned 21 at the time of the marriage, so had not attained the age when a man could legally wed. Sanghavi too had not turned 18, when a woman is allowed to marry legally.”
If they were not of legal ages, and if that was given as a reason for marriage being declared null and void, it would make sense. But this is not what is reported.
“Delivering a judgment in this case, on May 12, the judges ruled, “In our opinion, the girls below the age of 21 years are not capable of forming a rational judgment…”
Another link here.
Updated to add: And this is a law student’s reaction on her blog -http://aneeshamathur.blogspot.in/2011/06/girls-shouldnt-be-allowed-to-have-love.html
And this is how average Indian parents bear the brunt of unsuccessful marriages, they have arranged for their daughters. Andwhy I don’t think parents always make better judgements.
Can a woman marry and change an uninterested (in marrying her) man into a responsible, loving husband?
An email: Can a woman be married off with a promise to the in laws, that her father would find a job for her?
What the Supreme Court has said in the past: