B&b Associates LLP – A Leading Law Firm In Chandigarh
CONTINUOUS EFFORTS HAVE BEEN MADE BY OUR BEST ADVOCATES AND LAWYERS TO CURB THE EVIL OF CHILD MARRIAGE. WE HAVE GAINED THROUGH EXPERIENCE THAT A DIFFERENCE CAN ONLY BE MADE IF MASSES UNDERSTAND THE POSITION OF LAW.
What Is Child Marriage?
A marriage of a boy below the age of 21 years with a girl below the age of 18 years. Or, when any one of them is a minor. Child marriage is considered to be one of the most adversely affecting social evil. It is prevalent in areas dunked in poverty and illiteracy.
How Bad is the Scenario?
According to United Nations report, India has the second highest number of child marriages in the whole world. Another record that we should feel proud about, hope NOT!
- Evidence shows that girls who are married at an early age remain deprived of essential education.In fact, they lack the intellect necessary for individual and social development.
- It explains a huge amount of population given to ruthless emotionalism and mediocrity.
- Mostly, young girls are the vulnerable group and become “victims” of child marriage.
- Girls below 18 years of age who have not even passed their matriculation are married; and sometimes to men much elder to them.
- There have been instances where girls as young as 14 years are married to men of about 30 or even more.
- Call it sheer injustice or a heinous crime, these girls are neither mentally, nor physically prepared for a matrimonial bond.
As Bad as The Menace of Child Marriage Gets!
Mostly, it is the economically and socially backward classes who indulge in such practices, you’ll be surprised to know that no particular caste, class or creed has totally exempted itself from the practice. In fact it has been celebrated in the name of tradition, custom and culture:
- Girls, in the first place, are considered to be a burden and the father and brother feel duty-bound to marry her off at the earliest to reduce their burden of spending on her upbringing.
- To get rid of their responsibilities, parents, whether knowingly or unknowingly, destroy the future and life of not only the girls but jeopardises the intelligence level of generations to come.
- The practice promotes dowry and greed, physical abuse of young women, marital rape and illiteracy.
- A kid, full of bright ideas and innocence is made to lose all charm and happiness of childhood under the burden and stress of maintaining the title of ‘bahu’. An immature child who requires someone else to take care of her, instead, is made to take care of a grown up man. And in ways she could never imagine at such early age.
- Let alone this, along with him she has to take care of his family also.
The Evil of Child Marriage Continues to Haunt a Large Section of Population
- Girls who are not even fully aware of changes, their bodies get pregnant in childhood itself.
- Innocent girls are made to suffer sexual abuse as their parents marry them and take their eyes off.
- They are made to deliver and look after infants when they themselves are not adults yet.
- The eyes which haven’t learned to dream. The heart which hasn’t known of its own potential.The body which has not found its balance yet. Dictated to bear every form of burden by way of a social command.
- Girls have been treated inferior to men by this society till date.
- This is the only society which appreciates English women for their caliber and achievements. Narrate instances of bravery of Rani Lakshmi Bai, Kiran Bedi and Bachendari Pal among many others. But, talking of daughters, wives and mothers, they prefer them confined in four walls.
- The patriarchy grips women into the narration that they can’t do what boys can do. The narrative limits women to kitchen and domestic chores.
- The triumph of patriarchy limits a girl’s own thoughts and strengths.
Why are women victimized and considered a weaker group? The question need to be addressed and answered to reveal the evil. Time is changing patriarchy must die. (The latest victory is the Supreme Court’s 3:2 bench verdict which made the evil of Triple Talaq go extinct by declaring it #UNCONSTITUTIONAL. More reforms are needed. More liberty needs to be granted to women to create a powerful society.)
Remedies in Law to Curb Child Marriage
- The Constitution of India is designed in the interest and welfare of the people. It does provide various laws for prohibition of child marriages in India. But what about the execution?
- The first formulated law – Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, was applicable to whole of India except for the state of J&K. The act was amended in 1940. This act provides imprisonment of up to fifteen days along with a fine of one thousand rupees as punishment for child marriage. (Here a person might want to dig the lawmaker out of the grave and ask is that it? Is that all you get in the name of justice, 15 days for spoiling a life?)
- Another law against child marriage is the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. The act tried covering up the shortcomings of the Child Marriage Restraint Act. The act was prohibitory in nature, rather than merely restricting.
- The Act gave the children a choice to declare their marriage as void till two years of reaching adulthood.
- The major drawback of the law is that it does not extend to Muslims.
- Also, Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code considers sex with a minor as a criminal offence.
- However, marital rape is not illegal in India which serves as a hindrance in curbing this menace.
Organizations like CARPED and Childline have proposed setting up for social homes for the victims of child marriage. They have also proposed that funds for livelihood and education until they are adults, should be provided. Reforms shall be made to the chapter of laws dealing with child marriage. The issue needs to be addressed with an even stronger hand.
As little as one can do, if you come across an instance of child marriage, report it to the police. You need not fear getting involved in a feud. As a matter of right, you may request to maintain anonymity with the Police Authorities. If you have any doubts or apprehensions, call us! We shall report it to the concerned authorities and secure justice for the girl. Together we can prevent the victimisation of another poor girl. It is important that we curb it, and now!