Read Order: Aaftab and another v. State of Haryana and others 

Vivek Gupta

Chandigarh, July 27, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice to the Centre as well as the Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh authorities to go into the issue of whether the age of majority needs to be revised or not.

“It is of course to be observed that it is something which is wholly in the domain of the legislature, but since these kind of cases are on the rise these days, it is considered necessary to at least obtain the response of the Governments concerned,” stated the bench of Justice Amol Singh Sidhu.

The bench stated that “the Indian Majority Act, 1875, being an Act enacted more than 150 years ago; and with teenagers now, normally still being students even sometimes well into their 20s, whereas that was not usually the position at the time when the said Act was enacted”.

“Consequently, the Union of India through the Home Secretary, Government of India, the State of Punjab through the Addl.Chief Secretary, Home, as also the UT, Chandigarh, through the Home Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, are ordered to be impleaded as respondents no.6 to 8, with notice to be issued to all the added respondents, returnable on 29.10.2021,” the Bench said.

The HC further directed that an affidavit be filed by the Home Secretary/Additional Chief Secretary concerned, as to whether there is any proposal for tabling any amendment as regards an upward revision in the age of majority.

The HC was hearing a petition by a couple seeking protection from their family members.

Pursuant an affidavit dated 14.07.2021 filed by ACP, Panchkula, it was stated that as per verification carried out from the schools that the petitioners last attended, they are both found to be above 18 years of age, with petitioner no.1 (male partner) being about 3 months short of the age 21 and petitioner no.2 (female partner) being slightly short of 19 years of age.

“That being so, with the age of majority being 18 years of age as per the Indian Majority Act, 1875, obviously the petitioners have to be considered to be adults (whether mentally so or not is a separate issue altogether), and therefore, if they have chosen to live together and have at least not admitted any marriage between them, there would therefore be no question of invocation of the provisions of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006,” the HC noted.

“Consequently, there remains nothing to be done by this court except to issue directions to police to continue to ensure that the life and liberty of the petitioners are protected,” the HC held.

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