CHILD MARRIAGE

CHILD MARRIAGE IN INDIA

As per the United Nations report, India holds the second highest number of child marriages. In layman language marriage can be defined as the cherished union between two consenting and mature individuals who are agree to accept each other and fulfill the responsibilities and needs to entire lifespan. On the other hand, child marriages are quite unsound action which completely ruin the childhood of both male and female infants. Child marriage mars the innocence of childhood. Child marriage is a infringement of child rights, and has many adverse impact on health, physical development, mental and emotional development, and education opportunities. It affects the social community completely since child marriage emphasizes a poverty cycle and also supports the other social issues like illiteracy, discrimination and poor nutrition as well as higher maternal and infant mortality rates. Child marriage is prevalent issue across the country but it is majorly found in villages in compare to urban areas or cities. Both male and female youngsters are affected by child marriage but girls are affected to a larger extent. Girls who come in the category of lower class such as tribes and scheduled class, poor background and with less or poor education or knowledge are more likely to marry at adolescence.

DRIVERS OF CHILD MARRIAGE IN THE INDIA

Child marriage is the complex issue. Mainly it is directed by the gender inequality and theory that girls are inferior to boys in many ways. Illiteracy, cultural practices and poverty are some drivers that provide the helping hand or acts as a fuel for the prevalence of child marriages. These drivers vary from community to community. some of the factors that helps in driving of child marriages are Betrothal, Education level, Traditional customs, Poverty, Pre-martial sex, Gender norms, Violence against girls, Household labour. Betrothal is a promise that a marriage will take place. In some societies, however, betrothal is a considered as a formal component of the marriage process. In this when the girls reach to the adolescence, send off function takes place and they are sent to their sasural to start their married life. Betrothal is a kind of agreement between to parties if intention of one of them get change then it would turn into a serious matter or may called as promise breakage. Because of the illiteracy many of the people in India consider girls as a others wealth so they don’t find it important or necessary to educate the girl child. According to them girls will benefit to their marital family and son will take care of their biological parents in old age, this kind of mentality sets a priority of educating boy is more. Traditional customs are still prevalent in some castes. Therefore customary laws become a main barrier in ending child marriage. Some poor people marrying off their girl child to get rid off the economic burden as well because of less dowry is expected at younger age, girls are often married at puberty. Sometimes to preserve the purity and virginity of the girls, so that girls cannot be harassed or exploited by the lower caste or men, marriage is to be done at young age. Sometimes for controlling the sexuality of females and ensure reproduction child marriages are to be done. Due to the presence unsafe environment in society and reports of the rape of women in public spaces, some girls are married off.

COMMITMENTS HAS DONE BY INDIA

India has promised to eliminate child marriage by 2030. The government did not provide an update on progress towards this target during its Voluntary National Review at the 2017 High Level Political Forum. Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992, accepted by India which states that the minimum age of marriage of 18, and ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1993, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage. India is a focus country of the UNICEF-UNFPA Global Program to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, a multi-donor, multi-stakeholder program working across 12 countries over four years. India is also a member of the South Asian Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC), which adopted a regional action plan to end child marriage from 2015 – 2018.

FIGURES AND FACTS

Child marriage is more common in rural areas (48 per cent) than in urban areas (29 per cent). There are also variations across different groups, particularly excluded castes, tribes and communities. Generally, rates of child marriage are lower in the eastern and southern parts of the country and highest in the central and western parts of India. Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Tripura are the states having child marriage rates higher than the national average.
The national Ministry of Women and Child Development, as the main agency for women and children, has developed a confuent national strategy and is currently preparing a plan of action on child marriage to teaches all states in the implementation of policies to eliminate the problem.

Quality education, law enforcement and other opportunities, changing mindsets and social norms, empowering adolescents, producing and sharing knowledge and data, and monitoring are the major components of the policies and action plan. To accomplish the goal of protecting and promoting the development of children, the government of India is also implementing national programs, on the other hand states are providing support to these initiatives through state-level schemes. A legal body is there to prevent child marriage and protect children which includes the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 makes it illegal for girls to marry under 18 years and for boys under 21 years. Child marriage can be made voidable by the child but within two years of becoming an adult. Child marriage is a punishable offence with up to two years of imprisonment or a fine up to INR 100,000, or both. It is a non- bailable and non- appreciable offence. Dowry was prohibited in 1961 by the Dowry Prohibition Act, with a fine up to INR 15,000, or the dowry amount, whichever is higher, and imprisonment for between six months and five years. Other laws that may provide safeguard to a child bride include the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.