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Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment), Bill, 2021

  • Vaid's ICS, Lucknow
  • 23, Mar 2022
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Why in News?

  • Recently, Rajya Sabha Chairman granted a three-month extension to the Standing Committee examining the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment), Bill, 2021.



  • The Bill aims to raise the legal age of marriage of women in the country to 21 years from the present 18 years.
  • The law prescribes a minimum age of marriage to essentially outlaw child marriages and prevent the abuse of minors.


  • Personal laws of various religions that deal with marriage have their own standards, often reflecting custom.
  • The amendment in the Prohibition of Child Marriages Act, 2006, is proposed to extend to all communities, irrespective of religion.

Key Provisions of the Bill


  • The Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in Lok Sabha in 2021.
  • The Bill amends the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 to increase the minimum age of marriage of females.

Increasing the minimum age of marriage of females: 

  • The Act provides that the minimum age of marriage is 21 years in case of males, and 18 years in case of females.
  • The Bill increases the minimum age in case of females to 21 years.

The Bill also amends certain other laws relating to marriage to increase the minimum age of marriage of females under those laws to 21 years. These are:

  • Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872,
  • Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936,
  • Special Marriage Act, 1954,
  • Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and
  • Foreign Marriage Act, 1969.

Time period for filing petition to annul child marriage: 

    • Under the Act, a child marriage is one where either of the parties to the marriage is a child (i.e., their age is less than the minimum age of marriage).
    • The Act provides that a child marriage may be annulled by the party who was a child at the time of marriage.
    • Such parties may file a petition in a district court for a decree of nullity.
    • The petition should be filed before such party completes two years of attaining majority (i.e., completes 20 years of age).
      • The Bill amends this to allow such party to file the petition before completing five years of attaining majority (i.e., completes 23 years of age).


  • Amendments relating to the increase of minimum age of marriage of females and time period for filing petition to annul child marriage shall come into force two years from the date of assent.

Overriding effect:

  • The Bill adds that the provisions of the Act shall have an overriding effect over any other law, custom, usage or practice governing the parties to the marriage.

Reasons why marriage age should be increased?

Marriage and voting are not same: 

  • Equating age for marriage with the age to vote or sign other agreements does not fit in here because marriage is considered a life-long settlement in our society for which both the boy and the girl have to be mature in mind and body.

Time for building career:

  • When girls wish to go in for higher studies or research or eye a career in civil services or   sports, they do require time to prepare.
  • Marriage comes in the way in such cases whereas raising the age limit will allow them this valuable space to rise in life.

Stops malpractices:

  • It will help in putting a stop to malpractices like child marriage which still exists in some areas in the country.

Applicable to all communities

  • Even though terming the below 21-year person a child will raise hackles of the committee members, the bill fulfils the spirit of the Constitution as its provisions shall apply to all communities “irrespective of any law, custom, usage or practice governing the parties” as the bill mentions it.

Result of previous amendment:

  • The age of marriage was increased from 16 to 18 in 1978.
  • The objective was to provide better opportunities for women’s education and improve their health.


  • The latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS 5 2019–’21) has brought out the dismal fact that 40 years later, we still have an alarming rate of child marriages at 23%.


  • This points to the failure on the part of the government to reach its target of providing opportunities for girls in backward and poverty-stricken areas or better access to healthcare.
  • It has also not changed conservative and anti-women attitudes towards women.



Facts for Prelims :

Narasinghapettai Nagaswaram Bags GI Tag

Nagaswaram made in Narasinghapettai in Thanjavur district has been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag on the application filed by the Thanjavur Musical Instruments Workers Co-operative Cottage Industrial Society Ltd.

  • This will help the artisans receive assistance from the Indian government and other benefits.
  • The GI tag will boost trade.

About Narasinghapettai Nagaswaram 

  • The artisans based at Narasinganpettai village inherited the skill of making these wooden instruments from their forefathers.
  • The nagaswaram now being used by artists throughout is called ‘pari nagaswaram’, which is longer than the ‘thimiri’. 
  • A major portion of the ‘Narasinghapettai nagaswaram’ is made from the aacha (Hardwickia binata) tree and many a time the artisans use the wood from parts of old houses. 
  • The front portion — ‘anusu’ or enhancer — is made of ‘vaagai’ wood.

‘Seevali’, the reed, is made from a type of grass that grows on the banks of the Cauvery and the Kollidam.