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12-year-old says parents forcing her into marriage, seeks legal action

Parents thrashed the girl when she refused to get married to 19-year-old youth; cops intervene and stop the December 4 wedding

jaipur Updated: Nov 18, 2017 17:36 IST
Suresh Foujdar
Suresh Foujdar
Hindustan Times
Child bride,Child marriage,Minor bride
India is home to more than 23 million child brides. (HT File)

Bharatpur A 12-year-old girl has approached the government-run One Stop Centre (OSC) to stop her upcoming marriage and has sought legal action against her parents who are pressuring her to agree for the wedding.

The incident has been reported from Machhriya village of Rajasthan’s Dholpur district – considered as home turf of chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who is married to the Dholpur royal family and is fondly called Maharani by the people.

The girl, a student of Class 8 at a government senior secondary school, got her complaint registered with the OSC in Dholpur on November 16 over phone. The girl had secured the OSC’s telephone number from the State Women’s Commission’s website. She had got to know about the OSC during an awareness session held at her school.

In her complaint, the girl alleged that her parents have fixed her marriage with a 19-year-old boy from Harlal Ka Nagla village in the district. The wedding is scheduled on December 4 and she said her parents have also started sending out the invitation cards for the function.

The girl alleged that her parents beat her up when she protested against getting married at such young age. She said she doesn’t want to get married and wants to continue with her education.

The service provider at the Dholpur OSC, Sanjeev Chauhan, confirmed having received the complaint.

“She informed us over phone about her upcoming wedding and sought help for stopping it. We forwarded her complaint to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and the district collector for legal action against her parents who are forcing the minor to get married,” Chauhan said.

Chairman, CWC, Dholpur, Vrijendra Parmar said, “We have told the police officials to stop the marriage.”

Circle officer, Maniya, Bachan Singh said the station house officer of Dihauli police station was directed to stop the marriage. The police team has restricted the parents from going ahead with the minor’s marriage. They have also taken in writing from the parents that they will not get the girl married before she turns 18 and in case they do, legal action will be taken against them.

Parmar added that they have also the directed the would-be groom’s parents not to get him married before he turns 21, the legal age of marriage for males.

The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development has set up the One Stop Centres across country to provide an integrated range of services including medical, legal, and psychological support to women affected by violence. Funded through Nirbhaya Fund, the OSCs are integrated with 181 and several other existing helplines. Of the total 150 OSCs set up in country, 15 are in Rajasthan.

India is home to more than 23 million child brides with one out of every five marriages violating the laws prohibiting child marriage.

In October, the Supreme Court criminalized sex between man and his wife who is below 18 years of age. The court had ruled that the exception in the rape law that allowed a man to have sex with his minor wife aged between 15 and 18 was arbitrary and violated the Constitution. It also ruled that the Exception 2 in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code was contrary to the philosophy of other statutes and violated the bodily integrity of a girl child.

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 17:36 IST