Child Marriages In Assam : 2,000 People Arrested
More than 2,000 people have been arrested in a statewide crackdown on child marriages that have taken place in the state of Assam.
- UN estimates suggest that 1.5 million girls get married before they turn 18 in India.
- According to the 2011 census, 44 per cent of women in Assam were married before the age of 18.
- The figures for Rajasthan, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh were 47 per cent, 46 per cent, and 43 per cent, respectively.
- The POCSO Act, of 2012 criminalizes sex between a minor and an adult.
- The law does not recognize a minor’s consent as valid. Sexual assault under POCSO is a non-bailable, cognizable offence.
- Section 19 of, the POCSO Act imposes a “mandatory reporting obligation” which requires every person who suspects or has knowledge of a sexual offence being committed against a child must report it to the police or the Special Juvenile Police Unit.
- The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, says that child marriages are illegal but not void. Instead, they are voidable at the option of the minor party, in the scenario that the minor petitions the court to declare the marriage void.
- The Act stipulates 18 years as the minimum marriageable age for women, while for men it is 21 years.
- The punishment also extends to anyone who performs, conducts, directs, or abets any child marriage.
- In 2021, the Central government sought to introduce the Prevention of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2021, to raise the manageable age for women across all religions, from 18 to 21 years. However, the Parliament panel examining this is yet to submit its report.
- The establishment of the Jaya Jaitly Committee in June 2020, by the Ministry of Women & Child Development, submitted a report stating that the marriageable age for women should be increased from 18 to 21 years of age, in light of factors like reproductive health, education, etc