Ahead of Akshaya Tritiya, Rajasthan High Court’s Bold Stand Against Child Marriages

Ahead of Akshaya Tritiya, Rajasthan High Court’s Bold Stand Against Child Marriages

  • Panchs and Sarpanchs accountable if they fail to prevent child marriages;

  • CMPOs to report child marriages held and their efforts taken to prevent them;

  • Order passed on a PIL filed by Just Rights For Children Alliance

Rajasthan High Court passes urgent order on child marriages prior to akshay tritiya on 10 may akha teej

Village Heads to be accountable

Terming the current state of child marriages in the state as alarming, Rajasthan High Court in an urgent order has directed the state government to ensure that no child marriages occur in Rajasthan during the upcoming Akshaya Tritiya, and also made Panchs and Sarpanchs (Village heads) accountable, if they fail to prevent child marriages from being solemnized. 

This order comes following a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) filed by Just Rights For Children Alliance who sought urgent intervention so that child marriages could be stopped from being solemnized during the auspicious festival of Akshaya Tritiya or Akha Teej falling on 10 May. 

The Division Bench comprising Justice Shubha Mehta and Justice Pankaj Bhandari also directed the authorities to keep an ‘hawk’s eye’ on a masked list provided by the petitioners, which lists 54 child marriages that have been/will be held on Akha Teej. While 46 of the child marriages are yet to take place, 8 have already been solemnized. 

A report should be called from the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer (CMPO) with regard to child marriages which had taken place in his jurisdiction and the efforts taken by him in preventing the same,” the HC order said. The High Court has also ordered that the state government should ensure that the scheduled marriage of the 46 children from the list should not take place. 

While the division bench noted that the efforts of state authorities have been instrumental in bringing down the number of child marriages in the state, still a lot is needed to be done. 

As per the National Health Family Survey V (2019-21), 25.4% of women in the age group 20-24 years were married before 18 in Rajasthan while the same stands at 23.3% at national level.

Bhuwan Ribhu, Founder, Just Rights for Children Alliance said, “Child marriage is the most pervasive and heinous crime that is socially acceptable in our community. It is a landmark step by the Rajasthan High Court that affixes responsibility of reporting such marriages on the panchs and sarpanchs, and it is only with their participation and understanding that action against this crime will lead to behaviour change for the protection of children. The way India has been taking steps to end child marriage is a lesson for the entire world, and Rajasthan High Court’s order is yet another significant stride in this direction.

Just Rights for Children Alliance, is a nationwide coalition of 120 NGOs working on child protection issues such as child sexual abuse, child marriage and child trafficking. 

The order comes at a crucial time as the incidents of child marriages see a sharp spike during Akshaya Tritiya and the government agencies as well as NGOs working at grassroots levels have been campaigning to prevent such marriages from being held. The matter will be heard again on 2 July 2024.

To join us on Facebook Click Here and Subscribe to UdaipurTimes Broadcast channels on   GoogleNews |  Telegram |  Signal