Child marriage: Mandsaur girl first from MP to get maintenance
After getting her child marriage declared null and void, Neha Kushwaha of Mandsaur has won another legal battle by becoming the ‘first underage bride’ from MP who will get maintenance under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006.
Neha’s father married her off to Mahendra Banjara of Rajasthan in 2011 when she was 12, but she didn’t go to the groom’s family. Last year, when she was forced to go to Mahendra’s home, Neha dialed the Childline number for help.
With the help of Childline and child protection officers, Neha got her marriage declared null and void. Her family, however, refused to accept her after that. She was presented before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), which shifted her to a shelter home and also got her enrolled in Class 11.
Subsequently, Neha moved the Mandsaur family court for maintenance. After hearing the both sides, the court on April 25 asked Mahendra’s family to pay her Rs 1,200 per month as maintenance.
According to the section 3 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, the district court may also make an order directing the male contracting party to the child marriage to pay maintenance to the female contracting party to the marriage until her remarriage. The quantum of maintenance payable shall be determined by the district court having regard to the needs of the child.
The groom’s family will provide the maintenance from September onwards. Neha, now 17, said she wanted to further study, and the maintenance cost will help her in achieving her aim.
Figures by the state women and child development department show that till February-March 2016, approximately 91,000 child marriages were stopped through counselling and 3,700 marriages prevented on the day of marriage.