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What is the Legal Age for Marriage in India ? | Legal Age for Marriage in India

The legal age of marriage in India is a significant aspect to consider for anyone who plans to get married. As per Indian law, the minimum age for marriage is 21 years for men and 18 years for women. This means that men must be at least 21 years old and women must be at least 18 years old to be legally allowed to marry in India. However, the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 proposes to amend the legal age of marriage to 21 years for both men and women. Currently, the legal age for women to marry is 18 years old, but the Act seeks to increase it to 21 years.

It is worth noting that the legal age of marriage in India is the same for all religions. This means that Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and people of other religions must all be at least 18 years old (for women) or 21 years old (for men) to be legally permitted to marry.

There are a few exceptions to the general legal age of marriage in India. For example, under Hindu personal law, the minimum age of marriage is 18 years for girls and 21 years for boys. However, these provisions are not legally binding and the general legal age of marriage applies. Similarly, under Muslim personal law, the minimum age of marriage is 18 years for boys and 16 years for girls, but the general legal age of marriage takes precedence.


Several cases have been decided by the courts in India with respect to the legal age of marriage:

  1. In the case of Rajesh Sharma v. State of UP (2005), the Allahabad High Court ruled that a marriage between a 20-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl was void because the girl was below the legal age of marriage. The court stated that the legal age of marriage in India is 18 years for girls and 21 years for boys, regardless of religion.

  2. In the case of Independent Thought v. Union of India (2017), the Supreme Court of India declared that the provision in the Hindu Marriage Act (1955) that allows girls to be married at the age of 15 with the consent of their parents is unconstitutional and violates the right to life and dignity of girls. The court stated that the legal age of marriage for Hindus (and for all people) in India is 18 years for women and 21 years for men.

  3. In the case of K.N. Ramesh v. State of Karnataka (2018), the Karnataka High Court ruled that a man who marries a girl below the age of 18 is committing an offense under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (2006). The court stated that the legal age of marriage in India is 18 years for women and 21 years for men, regardless of religion.

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