Taking serious step against the menace of underage marriages, the Rajgarh district administration on Thursday lodged a court complaint against parents of five minor girls from Sustani village whose marriages are scheduled on April 20.
Rajgarh is one of the child marriage-prone districts of the state, reporting 24.6% underage marriages amongst females and 39.8% underage marriages amongst males according to the annual health survey (AHS) report of 2012-13.
This is the first time that the administration has sought court intervention to stop child marriage. Underage marriages are solemnised in large number around and on Akshay Tritiya day, falling on April 21 this year.
Rajgarh collector Anand Sharma told HT the district court was likely to issue an injunction order in the case on Friday following which the administration would approach the families to stop the marriages.
If the families still resist, further legal action would be initiated, said Sharma, who is also the ex-officio district child marriage prevention officer.
District women empowerment and child protection officer Shyambabu Khare said that authorities got information that the pre-nuptial rituals for the five girls in the age group of 12-14 years had already begun.
The girls belong to two families related to each other. The officials along with local people tried to convince the families to defer the marriages, but they did not agree.
"We were left with no option but to file a court complaint according to the provisions of child marriage prevention Act," Khare said.
Rajgarh superintendent of police Shashikant Shukla said once the court order is received, the police would fully assist the district administration in implementing it.
Meanwhile in Bhopal, NGO Sangini Gender Resource Centre helped the district women empowerment officials prevent the marriage of a 15-year-old girl from 12-number stop locality.
The girl was taken away to Maharashtra (where the 22-year-old groom resides) when the NGO made enquiries with the family, Prarthna Mishra of the NGO said.
But the organisation persisted with its efforts and managed to stall the marriage last week, she said.