Child marriage is prohibited
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 prohibits solemnization of marriage of a boy who is less than 21 years of age arid a girl who is less than 18 years of age.
Right of a child who is married to get the marriage annulled
- The Law gives a right to a party who was a child at the time of his/her marriage to get the marriage declared as a nullity. If the child is less than 18 years of age and wants to file get the marriage annulled then such petition may be filed through his/her next friend/guardian along with a Child Marriage Prohibition (i) Officer. However if he/she has to file petition for obtaining a decree of nullity after attaining the age of 18. Then they can file the petition on their own.
- On such marriage being declared a nullity, the money. Valuable, ornaments and other gifts exchanged between the parties have to be returned.
- The court may also pass an interim or final order to the husband or his parent/guardian if the husband is less than 18 years of age, to pay maintenance to the wife till her remarriage.
- If any children are born from such marriage, the Court can also decide on their custody, keeping in mind their best interests. It is to be noted that children born from child marriages are legitimate.
Who can be punished for child marriage?
- A man who is above 18 years of age and marries a girl who is less than 18 years of age can be punished with two years of rigorous imprisonment or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.
- The person who performs conducts or abets child marriage can be punished with two years of rigorous imprisonment or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.
- Any person who promotes or permits child marriage can also be punished with two years of rigorous imprisonment or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both. However, no woman can be punished with imprisonment.
Power of the Magistrate to issue injunction prohibiting child marriage
On receiving an information that a child marriage is about to be arranged or solemnize& he can issue an injunction against any person prohibiting such a marriage.
A Magistrate can issue injunction in the following cases:
- On a complaint being filed by person who knows or has any reason to believe that such marriage is about to be conducted, or by an NGO.
- If an application is made by a Child Marriage Prohibition Officer.
- Or even on his own when he receives reliable information about such marriage or to prevent solemnization of mass marriages on certain days like Akshaya Trittiya.
Any person who knowingly disobeys such injunction may be punished with two years of rigorous imprisonment or with fine which may extend to one lath rupees or with both, but no woman can be punished with imprisonment.
Ill-effects of Child marriage
- Serious health hazards.
- HIV, Anaemia, gynecological problems.
- Pregnancy is a leading cause of death arid disability among young women aged 15 to 19.
- Stops the educational, social and economic growth of girls.
Source: National Commission for Women
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