Madras High Court: Voicing the parental concern related to the rights of parents over their children on marriage, the Court observed that even though the law as illustrated by Section 3 of Majority Act, 1875 states the majority and marriageable age for a girl to be 18, but it does not mean that a girl will acquire social and psychological maturity by that age. The Court further observed that the Hindu Law lays down the marriageable age for a male to be 21 and 18 for a girl is only illustrative, but whether such eligibilities can be equated with the mental maturity of a girl is still not clear.
In the instant case the parties were in dispute related to petitioner’s daughter who had been allegedly detained by the respondents and had also crossed the statutory age limit of 18 years. L. Madhusudhanan appearing on behalf of the petitioner argued that even though after attaining the statutory age the children are not able to decide their future course of action and sometimes resort to extreme steps especially when it comes to marriage. C.M. Rajendran, Additional Public Prosecutor represented the respondents.
The Court agreeing with the concerns raised by the petitioner observed that the provisions of the Indian Majority Act, 1875, Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929, need to be addressed. The Court further observed that the issue of raising the marriageable age of the girls or making it at par with the requisite age limit for the males, all this should be considered keeping in mind the factors of mental and psychological maturity. With Supreme Court’s ‘18 yrs is the age of majority’ stand in Lata Singh v. State of U.P., (2006) 5 SCC 475, the Court therefore refrained from issuing any order related to increasing the marriageable age for girls.