After 20-yr battle, court annuls child marriage

Updated on Sep 10, 2022 05:00 AM IST

The incident came to light after the woman, Rekha, who belongs to Raseeda village, approached a non-governmental organisation (NGO), which then moved the family court.

Rekha refused to accept the marriage as she was preparing to become a nurse, and the boy was illiterate, Saarthi Trust’s managing trustee, Dr Kirti Bharti said. (Manoj Kumar/Hindustan Times)
Rekha refused to accept the marriage as she was preparing to become a nurse, and the boy was illiterate, Saarthi Trust’s managing trustee, Dr Kirti Bharti said. (Manoj Kumar/Hindustan Times)
By, Jaipur

A family court in Jodhpur annulled the marriage of a 21-year-old woman, who was married at the age of 1 and was reportedly being pressured for its consummation.

The woman’s family, she said, was also imposed a fine of 10 lakh by the Khap Panchayat after they refused to send her to her in-laws around 2016-17.

The incident came to light after the woman, Rekha, who belongs to Raseeda village, approached a non-governmental organisation (NGO), which then moved the family court.

Saarthi Trust’s managing trustee, Dr Kirti Bharti, said Rekha was married off to a boy of a village at the age of 1 after her father’s demise. “She was married in 2002 under the mausar pratha, a ritual in rural areas where children are married off following demise of any family member. But the girl is supposed to be sent to her in-laws’ house when she turns older.”

“However, in 2016-17, when she was around 15-16, her in-laws approached her family and asked them to send her for the gauna ceremony (associated with consummation of marriage). On learning that the boy is illiterate, she refused to go,” she added.

Rekha refused to accept the marriage as she was preparing to become a nurse, Bharti said.

Unwilling to give in, her in-laws arranged a caste panchayat which imposed a fine of 10 lakh on the woman’s family, she said.

In 2021, Rekha approached the NGO and a case was lodged against the man under Section 3 of the Child Marriage Act, 2006, Bharti said.

Presiding officer of the family court, Pradeep Kumar Modi, ordered the annulment of the marriage on Thursday. “Since a century, the evil of child marriage has not been eradicated. Now, everyone should together take a pledge to eradicate child marriage.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sachin Saini is Special Correspondent for Rajasthan. He covers politics, tourism, forest, home, panchayati raj and rural development, and development journalism.

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