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Child Marriages and the Law in India

Aparna Bhat (Editor) Aatreyee Sen (Editor) Uma Pradhan (Editor)
Synopsis Child marriage may seem to be an absolute anachronism in this day and age. But that does not detract from the reality of the common specter of mass marriages of children, still rampantly organized in parts of India, on “auspicious” days. It is appalling that these gala events receive the patronage of government, in the public glare and hence, also have tacit social approval. The prevailing socio-economic inequality, feudalism and patriarchy ensure, that such traditional practices are followed in the name of religion or poverty or are sanctified by male dominated values and norms of the society. Values like family honour, premium on virginity, maintaining social ties in caste/community, effectively play their roles in continuing the subjugation of the deprived class. Poverty-stricken parents are often persuaded to marry off their daughters by promises of marriage, in many cases, by false marriages, or sometimes with the prospect of saving money by getting several daughters married at the same time. Many of the child marriages form a backdrop for trafficking girls into prostitution abroad. The insensitivity, lack of will and hence the poor use and implementation of law-by law enforcers-is also a very tangible reason. The Child Marriages Restraint Act, 1929, is actually as remote and dysfunctional as its antiquity seems to impress: cases are hardly ever filed under this law, leave alone offenders being convicted. Even in its present form it is capable of impact if it is actually utilized. Resultantly, the practice of child marriages takes a heavy toll on young girls and boys. Children, especially girls, are always pulled out of school when the marriage takes place, a phenomena which contributes to our uneducated society. Physical and sexual violations are of course the most logical corollary, as the child bride is prematurely pushed into domestic chores and drudgery. To craft a systematic path and not become party to this so called ‘cultural phenomena’, Human Rights Law Network, HAQ: Center for Child rights and India Alliance for Child Rights had organized a National Consultation on July 17-18, 2004. The process, made us collectively understand, that the incidences and causes of child marriages have not been documented adequately. The role of law has not manifested itself and the position of law itself is dubious. The views expressed and strategies collectively evolved in this widely participated consultation, led us to focus on the issue with appropriate and effective strategy. This book intends to go a long way in our interventions, on the issue.
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Bibliographic information

Title Child Marriages and the Law in India
Format Softcover
Date published: 01.01.2005
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8189479024
length 259p., Tables; Figures; Maps; 22cm.