Child marriage is banned in India but the story is different on the implementation level. Now, the government of India has taken strong step to tighten laws against child marriage on Tuesday.
According to the new bill, Prohibition of Child Marriage Bill 2006, the priests, police or local leaders will be jailed and fined if they will be found indulged in this illegal practice.
Renuka Chowdhury, minister for women and children, said that
the new bill has been passed on Tuesday. It will grant protection to many children forced into marriage every year in the rural parts of the country.
She said in the Lok Sabha,
when we tell our children that they cannot vote when they are 15 years of age, we do not allow them to drive or to drink, then how is it that we think that they are capable of getting married.
I refuse to accept that any child can give his or her consent. They are children, they are coerced, bullied, black-mailed, emotionally exploited.
The government studies have been showed that more than 65 per cent of girls are getting married before 18 in India. The child marriage causes further high rates of maternal mortality. One woman dies every seven minutes in India because of a pregnancy-related cause.
According to the new bill,
people marrying children and people involved in these practices, people abetting or attending a child marriage would face up to two years in prison and a fine of 100,000 rupees.
The new bill has the provision to appoint child marriage prohibition officers in each of India’s states. They will keep an eye on the practice and will collect evidence to prosecute such cases.
Further, Courts have been empowered to rule a child marriage null and void even after many years of the practice.
In addition, the husband will be forced to give compensation and residence to his former wife.