Socio- Legal Analysis of Status for Child Marriages in India

Monday, 11 July 2016: 15:15
Location: Hörsaal 33 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Swati MALIK, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, India
Neha ANAND, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, India
Her tiny feet move towards the untold dark road, she looks back to hold on to her father’s hand, but it slips away like the sand. To her realization, her father had written her name with the same hand amidst the dark and thundering clouds.

These lines put forth the agony of a little girl’s heart when her own father gives her away at a tender age. 'Child marriage' a word which is contradictory in many ways. How is it possible to imagine marriage for a child? Marriage is a sacred relation with responsibilities that many adults also fail sometimes to handle, how is it possible for her tiny shoulder to carry a responsibility that will become like a collar around her neck? How is it possible for her mind and body to understand the demands and sacrifice a marriage asks for?A UNICEF report suggests that child marriage is the most common way of sexual abuse and exploitation of girls.

This paper aims to understand the driving force behind this social evil, even in the 21st century, the factors that are responsible for the rise of child marriages in India. It aims to understand the ambiguity of Indian laws and argues for making child marriage as void marriages. Indian law needs to change its outlook and should consider child marriage as a heinous crime. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 needs to declare all child marriages as null and void. Child marriages must be seen as violation of human body, mind and violation of life overall. The law cannot limit its voice to marriages done by force, threat, kidnapping and should also consider the fact that a child is being ripped away from her innocence and her fundamental rights such as life, liberty, right to live with dignity and equality.