CHILD MARRIAGE AND LAW

Author: Nancy Maggo,
2nd year, Law college Dehradun

INTRODUCTION

Child marriage usually refers to a social phenomena practised in some societies in india, where a young child (below age of 15) is married to an adult man. A second form a practice of child marriage is that in which the parents of the two children ( the girl and boy) arrange a future marriage.hild marriage is the formal (or informal) marriage of a child under the age of 18 most often the marriage of a young girl to an older boy or man.
Many girls who are married off before they turn 18 or are forced into early marriages are made to leave school, depriving them of their right to education and future independence. Child brides are also more likely to experience domestic violence.

WHERE DOES CHILD MARRIAGE HAPPENS?

Child marriage is still prevalent in many parts of the world, and affects girls and women from across communities. Girls from wealthy families in Bangladesh have been forced into marriages as children, Syrian refugee girls displaced by conflict have been married off before they were ready, American girls from Christian families have been victims of child marriage, and girls living in poverty in Myanmar have been married off to older men in China.
However, child marriage occurs in disproportionately high numbers in developing countries. Sub-Saharan Africa, where 4 in 10 girls are married under the age of 18, and in South Asia, where about 30% of girls under 18 are married, have the highest levels of child marriage
India is considered to have the most child brides of any country in the world, with more than 15 million women between the ages of 20 and 24 today who were married as children, according to UN data. Neighboring Bangladesh ranks second, with nearly 4.5 million women married as children, followed by Nigeria and Brazil, which each have more than 3 million women who were married before they turned 18. also have some of the largest number of child brides globally. Child marriage occurs in these areas due to high levels of poverty, cultural norms, and lax, if any, laws but it doesn’t only happen there. While many countries have 18 as the minimum marriageable age, most allow younger children to marry with parental consent, according to the World Policy Center, and at least 13 countries have exceptions to the minimum age of marriage in cases where a girl is pregnant.
Though many countries have laws setting the minimum age of marriage somewhere between 16 and 18. However, such legislation is not always enforced and frequently includes legal loopholes that allow children to be married earlier. In the US, all but two states — Delaware and New Jersey mhave legal exceptions that make it possible for children younger than 18 to be married. Child marriage in India, according to the Indian law, is a marriage where either the woman is below age 18 or the man is below age 21. Most child marriages involve underage women, many of whom are in poor socio-economic conditions.

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LAW AGAINST CHILD MARRIAGE-

THE CHILD MARRIAGE RESTRAINT ACT 1929-

The Child Marriage Restraint Act also called the Sarda Act was a law to restrict the practice of child marriage. It was enacted on 1 April 1930, extended across the whole nation, with the exceptions of some princely states like Hyderabad and Jammu and Kashmir, and applied to every Indian citizen. Its goal was to eliminate the dangers placed on young girls who could not handle the stress of married life and avoid early deaths. This Act defined a male child as 21 years (originally 18) or younger, a female child as 18 years (originally 14) or younger, and a minor as a child of either sex 18 years or younger (originally 14). The punishment for a male between 18 and 21 years marrying a child became imprisonment of up to 15 days, a fine of 1,000 rupees, or both. The punishment for a male above 21 years of age became imprisonment of up to three months and a possible fine. The punishment for anyone who performed or directed a child marriage ceremony became imprisonment of up to three months and a possible fine, unless he could prove the marriage he performed was not a child marriage. The punishment for a parent or guardian of a child taking place in the marriage became imprisonment of up to three months or a possible fine It was amended in 1940 and 1978 to continue raising the ages of male and female children.

THE PROHIBITION OF CHILD MARRIAGE ACT 2006

In the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) in 2006, and it came into effect on 1 November 2007 to address and fix the shortcomings of the Child Marriage Restraint Act The change in name was meant to reflect the prevention and prohibition of child marriage, rather than restraining it. The previous Act also made it difficult and time consuming to act against child marriages and did not focus on authorities as possible figures for preventing the marriages. This Act kept the ages of adult males and females the same but made some significant changes to further protect the children. Boys and girls forced into child marriages as minors have the option of voiding their marriage up to two years after reaching adulthood, and in certain circumstances, marriages of minors can be null and void before they reach adulthood. All valuables, money, and gifts must be returned if the marriage is nullified, and the girl must be provided with a place of residency until she marries or becomes an adult. Children born from child marriages are considered legitimate, and the courts are expected to give parental custody with the children’s best interests in mind. Any male over 18 years of age who enters into a marriage with a minor or anyone who directs or conducts a child marriage ceremony can be punished with up to two years of imprisonment or a fine.

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CONCLUSION

The practice of child marriage has historical roots in both india and itreamins prevalent today, despite the fact that these countries are far more different that they are alike. The key similarities that have allowed this dangerous abuse of young girls to continue are that both cultures struggle with poverty and place too much emphasis on the purity of women while patriarchal views are heavily ingrained into the societies.

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