A transfer plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking amendments in the marriageable age of women in the legal system and make the marriageable age for both men and women uniform. The petitioner claimed that the age difference has resulted in aggravating the gender inequality that exists in a marital relationship.

The petitioner is being moved by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and a similar petition of him is pending before the Delhi High Court. There is another person named Abdul Mannan who has filed a petition in Rajasthan High Court raising the same issue. Therefore, Upadhyay is seeking to transfer the matter to the apex court. Drawing attention to the power of the Supreme Court under Article 139A to allow matters with the same or substantially the same question of law and is pending before two or more High Courts should be transferred to the Supreme Court.

“While men are permitted to get married at the age of 21, women are married when they are just 18. The distinction is based on patriarchal stereotypes, has no scientific backing, perpetrates de jure and de facto inequality against women, and goes completely against the global trends,” said the transfer petition. The petition is demanding the age of marriageable age for women to also be 21 as of men. Upadhyay raised the point that he had moved the petition in order to avoid the multiplicity of litigations and conflicting views on interpretation of Article 14, 15 and 21 and judgments involving gender justice and equality.

“While men are permitted to marry at the age of 21 years, women are permitted to marry at age of 18. This difference in stipulated age of marriage for men and women are based on patriarchal stereotypes backing, perpetrates de jure and de facto inequality against women, and goes completely against the global trends,” stated Upadhyay in his petition . He had mentioned all the provisions under different legislations which stipulate the marriage age discriminatory.

The plea goes on to highlight the provisions under various legislations which stipulate the age of women as being discriminatory. The petitioner has also elaborated that India’s International Human Rights Obligations under the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which is ratified in 1993, inform the content of Articles 14,15 and 21 of the constitution which obliges state parties take all appropriate measures to modify social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women with a view to achieving the eliminations of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the ideas of inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or an stereotypes roles for men and women.

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