CHILD MARRIAGE - NIGHTMARE FOR CHILDREN
Amreen Anwar, V year of B.A.,LL.B. (Honours) from Galgotias University, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Before the 19th Century In India from the time of the birth of a girl child she was treated as someone else's property and married at a very early age. Child Marriage was an old tradition. People did not have a broad view regarding their life; they passed this tradition for future generations without any concern. People thought Child marriage as a weapon to keep their girls safe from kidnapping and Rape by a foreign sovereign. Girls at the age of 8-9 were forced by their families to marry young men who were much older than her age. The reasons behind that were that they protected their daughters and increased their financial opportunities. And one of the most social motives behind the Child Marriage in India was that in families old age people desired to see their grandchildren’s faces before dye.
Over half of the Indian child brides live in five states i.e. Uttar Pradesh 36 million, Bihar 22 million, West Bengal 22 million, Madhya Pradesh 16 million, Maharashtra 20 million.[i] Uttar Pradesh is the largest population of girl child bride 36 million.
Facts concerning the Child Marriage
According to the UN under the 18 year of age 37,000 girls are married each day.
In the developing world 1 in 3 girls are married before the age of 18 years and 1in 9 girls are married under the age of 15.
If it continues in the coming decade more than 140 million girls will be married before the age of 18.
India has the largest number of girl bride in the world it is estimated that at least 1.5 million girls under the age of 18 get married each year.[ii]
Major factors which are responsible for Child Marriage
Discrimination: - Mostly child marriage is practised in the rural parts of the country. In villages, boy child gets more preference over the girl child which causes to see girl child as a burden and resulting in the child marriage in India.
Poverty: - One of the big factors for child marriage is relating to poverty. In villages, many people do not have sufficient sources of income to feed their children for long and can’t afford other things regarding the basic needs. Child marriage also involves selling the minor girl to the young men or the groom’s family.
Lack of education: - It plays an important role in child marriage as people are not well- educated, unaware of their rights towards their families which also leads to child marriage in India.
Society mindset:- An another reason for child marriage is that People often correlated to the age of the bride means if the girl having the more age then more demand of dowry will be given. They have the mindset that the girl gets to her house as soon as possible society considers girls as a burden on a family.
Consequences arise in Child marriage
Child marriage imposed depreciation upon both boys and girls. The girl bride has to involve in sex and carry pregnancy even when they are not prepared for it mentally, physically and emotionally but they are forcibly spoken to do that thing for the family.
Unwanted Pregnancies and painful deliveries cause the death of a young mother sometimes miscarriage also give a negative effect on the girl’s health. If childbirth occurs without the complications then both mother and child would suffer from the malnutrition, low weight and low immune system.
Child marriage snatches the right to education from children. The independence of childhood playing and learning all are stolen in the practice. All the household work must put on the shoulders of the young bride and boy has to earn money to run their own family.
Indian laws related to Child Marriage
In the year 1929, during British rule, the first law came up against child marriage. The British government gave up the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929 later which was amended to as Sarda Act. This law prohibited the marriage of girls under the age of 18 and boys under the age of 21 years. Sarda Act was enacted on 1 April 1930 for the country except for Jammu & Kashmir and Hyderabad.
The Constitution of India and Laws restrict child marriage in India in any manner or form. Article 21A of the Constitution grants everyone a right to education; it is a fundamental right under the Constitution of India. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 removes the other previous laws. This law restricts the child marriage before the said age and many cases filed against the child marriage under this respective law. Data says that there were 111 cases which are reported and pending from the last year at the end of the year only 33 cases pending. After 10 years of 392 pending cases at the end of 2019 out of the 827.[iii]
1. It is necessary to create awareness through the possible medium but public support of the society must be there.
2. Education for boys and girls should be mandatory because of lack of knowledge cause of child marriage in India.
3. Financial non-financial and social campaigns must take place for spreading awareness such as Nukkad Natak.
4. The Government should implement the strict laws for the abolishing of child marriage. People are involved in such a marriage activity should be punished reasonably by the law.
Marriage takes place between two individuals who are mature regarding different aspects of life, able to understand each other. Child marriage is considered as a black truth of a country. People need to restrict such kinds of marriage activity. As a responsible citizen, every person must contribute to this evil practice by reporting to police when one hears child marriage is taking place. Children are considered as the bright future of a country, People have to create a safe environment to nurture the future of the country. Government needs to provide education to the children at least at the primary level. People need to know about their civil and human rights.
[i] National Family health survey 2015-2016
[iii] National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2010