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Hard to Fix Girl’s Marriage Age, SC Says

Eight years back, two high courts permitted minor girls to get married after they recognized that they had eloped willingly with their beaus, leading the National Commission for Women to dash to the Supreme Court expressing dread that this would legitimize marriage of minors, an offence under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act. The NCW had said that agreed the wide discrepancy in various laws on the issue of marriageable age of girls, there was an urgent requirement to bring consistency by addressing the question: "what is the accurate statutory age for a girl to marry". The Supreme Court on Wednesday told that it was not easy to arrive at a straightjacket method on marriageable age of girls to fit every case. "We do not find everything wrong in the two cases decided by the high courts," a bench of Justices J S Khehar and Dipak Misra said. The Delhi High Court on October 5, 2005 and the Andhra Pradesh High Court on February 1, 2006 had allowable underage girls to get married their lovers after dropping kidnapping charges registered against the men by police. While promising those whose marriages were detained valid by the HCs not to agonize and carry on with their lives, the SC in 2006 asked all courts not to depict inspiration from these two HC orders. The bench of Justices Khehar and Misra said on Wednesday, "How can we declare the entire cases must fit to the similar formula? As long as there is no irrelevant consideration, compulsion, hatred misuse or assault, the HCs were completely placed to pass these orders. The parties have remained jointly. The families have stayed united." The bench added NCW should register its complaint when taking up cases where it finds the women were stressed, pressurized or misused. The court predisposed of NCW's appeals filed against the two HC judgments but kept release NCW's plea for bringing in consistency in legislations on marriageable age of girls. It bestowed eight weeks to NCW and additional solicitor general Indira Jaising to hold discussions with stakeholders and report back to the court.

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