In a plea seeking parity in the marriageable age for men and women, Ministry of Women and Child Development informed the Delhi High Court today that it has already started the consultation process for the same.
The counsel for the Central Government informed the Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Hari Shankar that the Ministry is in the process of consulting with all the stakeholders in the policy.
She also requested the court to adjoin Ministry of Law and Justice in the present case so that the government can come up with a unified response on the directions sought in the PIL.
The Petitioner submits in his plea that the aforementioned distinction in minimum age for marriage not only violates right to gender equality under Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution but also it goes against India's obligations under CEDAW.
According to him, the distinction reinforces patriarchal stereotypes about women and goes on to cite the law laid down by the apex court in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India, (2014) 5 SCC 438, Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan v. Union of India, (2014) 11 SCC 477 to argue that such a distinction violates the right to equal social standing and perception.
In addition to this, it is also mentioned that this distinction leads to the power imbalance in a matrimonial household which further aggravates social deprivation of women. The higher minimum age for men is guided by a flawed perception that the husband is the sole breadwinner of the family and hence requires higher education before marriage to make an earning for himself and his family.
The matter with next be heard on November 4.