New Delhi: Marriage between minors is valid
and it can be annulled only on the plea by one of the
partners, the Delhi High Court ruled today.
"A marriage in contravention of clause (iii) of section 5
(which fixes minimum age of twenty-one years for bridegroom
and eighteen years for bride) does not fall in the category of
void marriages nor does it fall in the category of voidable
marriages. Consequently, by the process of elimination, it
would be a valid marriage," the court said.
A bench of Justices B D Ahmed and V K Jain said that even
under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act the marriage
involving minors has not been declared as invalid and the Act
just says that the marriage can be annuled on this ground if
plea is made by the minor partner.
"It is clear that where, earlier, a child marriage may
not have been voidable under personal law, as in the case of
the Hindu Marriage Act, by virtue of the section 3 of the
Prohibition of Child marriage Act, it has explicitly been made
voidable at the option of the child spouse. But nobody other
than a party to the marriage can petition for annulment of the
marriage," the court said.
It said the legislature while drafting the provisions of
the Hindu Marriage Act had consciously left out marriages in
contravention of the age stipulation from the category of
void or invalid marriages.
The court passed the order on a petition filed by a minor
boy who tied knot with a minor girl against the wishes of
their family members after fleeing from home.
18-year Jitendra Kumar Sharma approached the court after
a criminal case was registered against him on the complaint of
family members of 16-year-old minor girl Poonam Sharma who
alleged the boy had abducted her.
The High Court had earlier directed the couple to be
present in the court and they submitted that they were in love
and got married without being forced by anyone.
The court, after recording their statement, said their
marriage is valid and the minor boy is the lawful guardian of
The court said family members of Poonam cannot prevent
her from living with her husband.