Child Marriage

Almost one in every three married woman having been wed while she was still under the age of 18 years – Highest in the central and western parts of India, & more in rural areas.

Reasons 

  • Low education opportunities due to low quality of education, inadequate infrastructure & lack of transport.
  • People feel that the traditions & norms are stronger than the law & institutions
  • Girls are often seen as a liability with limited economic role
  • Dowry amount increases with the age & education level of the girl
  • Law enforcement to prohibit child marriage is relatively weak 

Child-Marriage

Implications

  • Deprives children of access to education & thereby better opportunities in future
  • Limits the child’s freedom of decision & thus, domestic violence thrives
  • Associated with multiple health risks as young brides have limited access to contraceptive health services
  • Exposed to early and frequent sexual relations & to repeated pregnancies before they are physically mature and psychologically ready
  • Perpetuates gender discrimination & illiteracy + high infant & maternal mortality rates

 

Government Initiatives 

  • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 – llegal for girls to marry under 18 years & for boys under 21 years
  • A non-cognizable and non-bailable offence with fine upto 1 lakh or 2 years of Jail or both
  • Dowry Prohibition Act 1961
  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015
  • Domestic Violence Act 2005
  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
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