In a momentum to effectively do away with the cruel tradition of child marriages in India, the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) is set to move the cabinet to make child marriages ‘completely’ void.
By Divya Bisht
Intern – CASA Communications
The question is – What prompts the ministry to banish this practice perpetrated within the society?
At present, child marriage is a crime in India but it is not completely banned. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) 2006 only forbids child marriage in India which means that even if a minor gets married, his/her marriage cannot be considered null and void. It only gives an alternative to the couple to nullify their marriage either by contracting parties or by filing case in a district court.
Despite the law, 6 out of 10 girls in India are still deprived of their share of childhood because of child marriage.
Girls are more affected by child marriage as it robs their childhood, putting their health and even lives at risk, besides interrupting their emotional and social development. Still many parents in backward parts of India find it better to marry off their daughters before reaching the right age to marry at 18.
Even though Dowry has been legalized penalized within Indian law, dowry deaths are very prevalent in parts of the country. THE YOUNG, THE LESS – a popular tradition in rural India still consider girls to be married off before 18 in order to escape the expectations of heavy dowry.
A study by The International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), girls in some Indian states who were married before 18 were twice as likely to report being beaten, slapped or threatened by their husbands than girls who married later.
Not confined to India, child marriages are also rampant in other countries as well. The highest rates of child marriage are observed in Sub-Saharan Africa, in countries such as Nigeria, the Central African Republic, and Chad.
The draft cabinet note has been circulated that proposes to make child marriage completely invalid in India and if approved can soak a huge portion of miseries from the lives of young and aspiring boys and girls.
The framework will help civil society organisations like @CASA_India to educate more children by sending them to government and Bridge Schools, thereby help them access Right to Free and Compulsory Education. The total abolition of the Child Marriage will help uplift the social status of women and reduce the sexual violence and health issues that a girl suffer in early marriages.
PHOTO COURTESY: Amazons Watch Magazine