By Juliet Nalwooga
As the 16 days of activism against gender based violence continue, a number of customary laws have been challenged before the Constitutional Court for being discriminative in nature.
The petitioners; Michael Aboneka and Martins Kirya contend that the Customary Marriages Act, contrary to the constitution, provides a different minimum age for a man at 18 years and a woman at 16 years.
Further, the lawyers are challenging the Marriage and Divorce law, which provides for the registration of marriage of a minor by a guardian using Form A implying that marriage of a minor offends the principles of the requirements of marriage and consent of the person getting married and that this contravenes the Constitution.
The petitioners also contend that Section 3 of the Hindu Marriages and Divorce Act, requires appointment of a guardian to consent to a marriage on behalf of a minor and specifically that courts of law can make such an order, is contrary and inconsistent to administration of justice by courts of law as mandated Article 126 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda at the behest of perpetuating illegalities.
Through their lawyers of Thomas and Michael Advocates, the petitioners want court to declare that the set minimum age for parties to a marriage, is discriminatory.