Child Marriage In India

Editorials News | Sep-04-2021

Child Marriage In India

Child marriage has been practiced in India since ancient times, with young children and teens being married off before reaching physical and mental maturity. Some parents agree to child marriage for a variety of reasons, including financial need, male protection for their daughters, childbearing, or repressive traditional attitudes and traditions. Child marriage, according to UNICEF, is defined as a girl or boy marrying before the age of 18 and includes both official and informal partnerships in which minors under the age of 18 live with a partner as if married.

In India, a child is defined as “a person who, if a male, has not finished twenty-one years of age, and if a female, has not completed eighteen years of age” under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. Any marriage solemnized between minors under the legal age restriction is likewise declared null and illegal under this statute. The statute also lays forth penalties for permitting or performing child weddings between minors, as well as marrying children with adults. Despite this, child marriage is still common in the United States.

In states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh, the average age of marriage for females is still under the legal age of eighteen. The states with the highest rates of child marriage are also the ones with the largest populations. Child marriage has serious population control implications in India since teenage brides are more likely to have high fertility and a large number of undesired babies.

For a long time, child marriage has been a problem in India. It has been a difficult struggle to combat because of its roots in traditional, cultural, and religious practices. Child marriage is also linked to issues such as dowry and child widowhood. It's also linked to hunger, poor maternal health, and excessive fertility, resulting in overpopulation. The following is a summary of the legislation. A kid is defined as a male who has not reached the age of twenty-one and a female who has not reached the age of eighteen, according to the legislation. A contract between two persons in which one or both of the parties is a kid is known as child marriage. Child marriages that occurred before or after this legislation can be declared null and void by the individual who was a minor at the time of the marriage. However, the marriage must be annulled before the kid reaches their second year of maturity.

If the husband requests a void of marriage, the court might order that he or his family pay for the girl's support until she remarries. The district court will determine the amount of maintenance. If the marriage produced children, the court will decide where the kid will live, with which parent, and how visits will be organized, all in the best interests of the child. The court may also order one of the parties to pay child support to the other. Every kid born before the marriage is declared null and invalid is considered a legitimate child. If a male adult above the age of eighteen contracts a child marriage, he faces two years in jail and/or a fine of up to Rs. one lakh. A person who executes conduct, or orders a child marriage will face the same penalties. Unless proven otherwise, the child's parents or guardians are presumed to have failed to prevent the child's marriage and are thus held responsible.

Even without a petition from one of the parties, a child marriage might be declared unlawful in certain circumstances. If a kid is taken away from her or his parents or guardians, forced to relocate, sold into marriage, or forced to marry, and then exploited for immoral reasons or trafficked, the marriage is deemed null and invalid. The court has the authority to issue an injunction banning a suspected child marriage against any individual, including a member of an organization or an association of persons, upon the application of an official or any person. The court may take action against suspected child marriage on its initiative, but the person or association must be allowed to reply to the order. It is illegal to disregard a notification or an injunction. If the marriage continues after the injunction, it is immediately declared null and invalid.

The act calls for the appointment of a Child Marriage Prohibition Officer, who will be responsible for ensuring that no child marriages occur in their jurisdiction by seeking an injunction from the courts, gathering evidence against people, raising awareness about the negative effects of child marriage, and collecting data on child marriages, among other things. In this legislation, a child marriage prohibition officer is considered a public servant. The different state governments will set the rules for this act. The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 will be modified to comply with the act's requirements, and the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929 will be repealed.

By: Samaira Sachdeva
Delhi Public School, Gautam Buddh Nagar

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