SC on Marriage between Adults who haven’t Attained Marriageable Age

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May 07, 2018

Case name: Nandkumar & Anr. v. State of Kerala

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In the case, the appellant approached the Supreme Court aggrieved by the High Court’s order, whereby the High Court had annulled the marriage between Appellant and his wife Thushara on the ground that on the date of marriage though the girl was of marriage age, the boy was less than 21 years i.e. below the marriageable age for boys in India.

The Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court set aside the High Court’s order while heavily relying on its recent judgment in the case of Shafin Jahan v. Asokan K.M. & Ors.[1]. The observations made by the Supreme Court in the case are enumerated below:

  • That as marriage of appellant (who was less than 21 years of age on the date of marriage and was not of marriageable age) with Thushara is concerned, it cannot be said that merely because appellant was less than 21 years of age, marriage between the parties is null and void. Appellant as well as Thushara are Hindus. Such a marriage is not a void marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and as per the provisions of section 12, which can be attracted in such a case, at the most, the marriage would be a voidable marriage.
  • That both appellant and Thushara are major. Even if they were not competent to enter into wedlock, they have right to live together even outside wedlock. It would not be out of place to mention that ‘live-in relationship’ is now recognized by the Legislature itself which has found its place under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
  • The Court also emphasised on due importance to the right of choice of an adult person which the Constitution accords to an adult person as pronounced by the Supreme Court in Shafin Jahan case.

The entire case can be accessed here.

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[1] 2018 SCC Online SC 343