Whether I committed a child marriage? I am 20 years old and married with my class teacher who is 32 years old. The father of my wife has lodged an FIR under section 156(3) and the magistrate has directed to initiate prosecution under section 9 of the PCM Act.
According to the facts of your case, you are minor whereas your wife is a major. Section 2(a) of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 (PCM Act) a male person below the age of 21 years is minor under the PCM Act.
According to section 2(b) of the said Act, child marriage is a marriage where either of the contracting party is minor. A boy below the age of 21 years and a girl below the age of 18 years are called minor. According to the Indian Majority Act, a person aged 18 years considers as a major but it does not apply in the PCM Act.
Child marriage is an offence
Section 9 of the PCM Act confers the child marriage a punishable offence. When a male adult solemnises marriage with a minor girl he commits the offence under section 9. He will be punished with rigorous imprisonment with up to 2 years and fine up to 1 lakh rupees.
Who will be punished for child marriage
As per section 9, the only male adult will be punished for contracting child marriage. When a girl is above 18 years and she marries with a boy below 21 years, she commits no offence. Only you will be subject to punishment under PCM Act.
Whether you have committed the offence?
No, you have committed no offence. If the male is minor i.e. below the age of 21 years, he commits no offence under section 9. If a boy is major and the girl is minor then the boy will be punished.
In your case, you are a minor whereas your wife is major. Hence, you have committed no offence.
In the above case, the Supreme Court has held that minor husband commits no offence under section 9 if his wife is above the 18 years.
Annulment of marriage
If you do not want to live with your wife, then you can file a petition under section 3 of the PCM Act. A child can annul its marriage under section 3 but it is not mandatory. If you are living a happy married life you should go with it because your marriage is valid.
Quashing the criminal proceeding
You should file a petition before the High Court for quashing of FIR. Move a petition under Article 226 of Constitution of India for quashing of the ongoing investigation.