Thursday, 26 April 2012

Jodhpur Court annuls a child 'marriage'

Written by Anil Singh

In what is thought to be the first case of its kind in India -- A young woman has had her child "marriage" legally annulled in northern Rajasthan state.

Laxmi Sargara, now 18, wed Rakesh when she was just one and he was three.

As happens in most child marriages in India, the girl grew up in her own family. This month, her in-laws came to claim her.

Deeply unhappy; and determined not to go with her in-laws (as she didn’t like her husband); Laxmi told her parents about her dislike.

Her parents put a deaf ear to her demand.

She then sought help from outside; a local non-governmental organization (NGO), the Sarathi Trust in Jodhpur city.

With the NGO’s help and proper counseling, the couple annulled their marriage yesterday. The fact that Child Marriages are not legal under India's Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, both Laxmi and Rakesh signed an affidavit declaring the marriage null and void in the presence of a notary public in Jodhpur.

Facts about Child Marriage in India:

1 out of every 10 girls in Rajasthan is married off before the age of 18.

According to Unicef, 40% of the world's child marriages take place in India. But the recent efforts to stop the practice may have decreased the number.

Child marriages are illegal in India but are still common in many parts of the country, especially in rural and poorer communities.

Child marriages are bad, there’s no doubt about it; but the problem is more social than legal. Low rate of literacy, social beliefs, low literacy among girls, concerns about female security all play a role in encouraging the Child Marriages. But with increasing literacy among girls and population in general, proliferation of television and media, and more girls going for professional job oriented education in the country; the Child marriage will automatically decline.

The problem of Child marriage exists in Uttarakhand as well; but with each passing day, it’s on a decline.

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