Marriage below the age of 18 for a woman and 21 for a man is “voidable at the instance of minor party” but “there is nothing illegal in getting married at the age of 18”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has said.
A single bench of Justice Rajiv Narain Raina made the observation while setting aside an order of the Registrar of Marriages refusing registration of a marriage of a couple from Haryana’s Sonepat on the ground that the man was less than 21 years age at the time of marriage in 2011.
While the woman was 18 years old at the time, the man was under 21 years of age and thus could not have legally married due to the prohibitions in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. A child was born to them in 2014, By that time the husband had attained the legal age for marriage. In May 2017, their request for registration of the marriage was declined.
“The reason for declining the request for registration of marriage is not legally sustainable and deserves to be set aside. Marriage below the age of 18 (for girl) and 21 (for boys), as the case may be, is voidable at the instance of minor party. There is nothing illegal in getting married at 18 but its consequences are governed by law,” the order passed by Justice Raina said.
The court added that since the marriage is of a substantial duration and the couple is bringing up their offspring, there is no need to inform the general public of the marriage beforehand “as they have a right to privacy and to avoid any harm to them”. Under the existing rules, the authorities otherwise issue a public notice to invite any objections pertaining to the marriage.
Asking the couple to furnish all the necessary documents to the Registrar of Marriages and fulfill the other conditions under the Act, the Court ordered the marriage be registered within a fortnight.