Marrying under 16 yrs ought to be void: Experts

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New Delhi, Feb 6: Marriages of children below 16 years be made void and those between 16-18 years be made voidable, law experts recommended today. The recommendation was in a bunch which included lowering the legal marriage age for boys from 21 to 18.

The recommendations were listed in two Reports India's Law Commission chairman A R Lakshmanan presented to Law and Justice Minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj. ''There is no rational, scientific basis'' why boys, who may vote or take other decisions after 18, must wait to be 21 before marrying, Commission expert Kirti Singh told journalists.

The experts also recommended that having sexual relation with a girl below 16 ought to be a crime, whether or not she is married. Currently, the Indian Penal Code makes it a crime to have a sexual relation with a married child under the age of 15 years.

The Commission also recommended making father a class I heir of a deceased male alongwith mother, saying, ''both together should take one share.'' Indian laws classify heirs in Class I and Class II, depending on the degree of relationships.

Lakshmanan said changes effected in 2005 in the Hindu Succession Act 1956 while giving daughters equal property rights, happened to omit certain categories of heirs.

The Commission acknowledged that ''certain legislative inadvertences had crept in the law.''


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