Indian Penal Code (1860) prohibited the consummation of marriage if the girl was less than 10 years of age.⁣

Marriageable age was fixed at 14 years for girls and 18 years for boys under the Bramho Act of 1872. This Act later came to be known as Native Marriage Act.⁣

In 1891, Age of Consent Bill was passed which prohibited cohabitation with wife under the age 12.⁣ This was later examined by the Joshi Committee in 1925. ⁣

Based on the recommendations Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929, passed on 28 September 1929, in the Imperial Legislative Council of India, fixed the age of marriage for girls at 14 years and boys at 18 years which was later amended to 18 for girls and 21 for boys.⁣

It is popularly known as the Sarda Act, after its sponsor Harbilas Sarda. It came into effect six months later on 1 April 1930 and applied to all of British India.⁣

The All India Women’s conference, Women’s Indian Association and National Council of Women in India, through their members developed and articulated the argument in favor of raising of the age for marriage and consent before the Joshi Committee. ⁣

Muslim women presented their views to the Joshi Committee in favor of raising the age limit of marriage even when they knew that they would face opposition from Muslim Ulemas.⁣

It was the first social reform issue which was taken up by the organized women in India. ⁣

However, it lacked implementation from the British Indian government, largely due to the fear of British authorities losing support from their loyal Hindu and Muslim communalist groups.⁣

It was amended in 1940 and 1978 to continue raising the ages of male and female children and was finally repealed with the enactment of 2006 act.⁣

Under this The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, “child” means a person who, if a male, has not completed 21 of age, and if a female, has not completed 18 of age.⁣