Child marriage is an age-old practice in India, prohibition for which has been addressed since before independence. To address this social issue, the law prohibits people from performing child marriages and lays down punishments for those involved in conducting the marriage.
However, if a child has been married, the law does not immediately make the marriage illegal. The child so married has the option to cancel the marriage or continue to be married.
According to certain personal laws (laws that govern different religions on aspects like marriage, divorce etc), in India, marriage is allowed after the child has attained puberty. This can happen before the child has turned 18 years (in case of girls) or 21 years of age (in case of boys). However, on several occasions, Courts have held that such marriages conducted under personal laws would not be illegal. The child married under such laws would still have the option to cancel their marriage as per the child marriage law.
However, in certain circumstances, some child marriages are not recognized by the law as valid.0