Sent: 20August 2016 12:29 PM
Sent: 20August 2016 12:29 PM
Subject: “AFTER CHILD MARRIAGE”:
What Child Welfare Committee can do if the marriage has already taken place?
Your’s faithfully ,
Child marriage represents one of the worst forms of violence against any child, depriving her/him of a childhood, and pushing her/ him into a phase of life for which they are not ready. It also deprives the child of all avenues for her/his own development such as education, health, choice in life decisions etc. Such a child is a child in need of care and protection.
Sec 2 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, defines child marriage as a marriage “where either of the contracting parties is a child.” Child marriage is illegal under this Act and offenders are liable for punishment. For boys the age of marriage is 21 years and for girls it is 18 years.
Specific legislation pertaining to child marriage Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006:
All offences under this Act are cognizable and non-bailable.
If the marriage has already taken place:
In case the marriage has already taken place, then the first step of the CWC is to determine whether the person who is a party to marriage, is a child as defined under Sec.2 (k) of JJ Act.
CWC can order for verification of age as per Sec. 49 of the JJ Act.
The CWC then needs to determine whether the marriage in question took place or not. For determining both of the above, the CWC should rely on the findings of the police, report of Child Marriage Prohibition Officer and discussions with the child.
The CWC can check with the child if she was compelled into the marriage and give her information about her rights under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act to call for the marriage to be voidable and her right to maintenance and action against the party that was involved.
Custody of the child:
After determining that the person in the marriage is a child i.e below 18 years and in need of care and protection, the CWC should take custody of the child, especially where the marriage is void. In a voidable marriage, especially where the child may be of almost 18 years, the CWC through the PO may call the parents who should be counseled and through community processes with the involvement of the NGOs and panchayat, and through the signing of a bond, the families can be brought to agree that the child will stay with her family till she completes the age of 18 years.
The CWC is also authorized to take any child born out of this marriage into their custody along with the minor biological mother. The CWC may take decisions regarding the mother and the child keeping in mind the best interest of both.
Procedures in Family Court
While the other legal procedures in relation to a case of child marriage or custody of children born out of such marriages will take place simultaneously in the Family Court or the sessions court/High Court, the CWC will focus on the rehabilitation plan of the child rescued from marriage or the child out of such a marriage