The grave evil of child marriage and premature maternity and the right of the State to take cognizance of it and intervene have been recognized by Indian administrators for nearly a century. Hindu and Muslim ancient law severely punished the offence of rape outside marriage, but the idea of making intercourse between husband and wife below a certain age illegal seems to have originated with the Law Commissioners who drafted the Indian Penal Code in 1846. The Code, finally enacted in 1860, prescribed a punishment which might extend to transportation for life for the husband who consummated his marriage when the wife was under ten years old. 1