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New lease of life for tribal girls

A lower court in Arunachal has set a precedent by declaring a minor Nyishi tribal girl?s marriage null and void, reports Rahul Karmakar.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2006 23:51 IST

A lower court in Arunachal Pradesh has set a precedent by declaring a minor Nyishi tribal girl’s marriage null and void. The verdict came three days after the Meghalaya State Commission for Women (MSCW) officially “separated” a daughter from her “father-husband”.

Sessions judge Repo Ronya in Arunachal Pradesh’s remote Kurung Kumey district ruled in favour of a Class XII girl who defied her father and social customs and sought freedom from her marriage.

The girl, Yumbam Yaku, was married off as a toddler to Bengia Kami for a bride price that comprised mithuns (bisons), cows and pigs, as per Nyishi customs. Earlier this month, Yaku pleaded that she wanted to chart her own destiny after having managed to study up to Class XII. On December 7, the court cited the provisions of the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929 in ruling that a marriage could not be solemnised against the will of one of the parties concerned.

While Yaku’s case was under process, the MSCW “officially separated” a daughter and her father in Meghalaya after relatives disapproved of their illicit relationship. The father allegedly forced his daughter to be his ‘spouse’ after his wife died on March 16 last year.