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  • 1. Name: Marieum.S.FakhriRoll No: 09Class: M.Com-1Subject: Advanced AccountancyUniversity: SNDT Women’sUniversitySubmitted to: Jyoti Thakur MamTopic: Child Marriage in Indiawith Special Reference to Rural Area’s 1
  • 3. 3
  • 4. Table of Contents:Sr No Particulars Pg No 1 Introduction 5 2 Objectives 6 3 Methodology 7 4 History of Child Marriage 8&9 5 Types of Child Marriage 9 & 10 6 Causes/Reasons of Child 10 - 13 Marriage 7 Effects/Consequences of 13 -18 Child Marriage 8 Laws of Child Marriage in 18 - 20 India and Efforts of 4
  • 5. Government and Public to Stop Child Marriage in Rural Areas 9 Conclusion 20 & 21 10 References 22  Introduction: The practice of early marriage in rural India is deeply embedded in cultural valuesand grounded in social structures. Despite laws that prohibit marriage before legal age,the practice is still extremely prevalent in many parts of the country. The highest ratesare seen particularly in the rural states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, MadhyaPradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Marriage at such early age exists because ofseveral social factors, which includes conventional gender norms, the value of virginity andparental concerns regarding premarital sex, demand of marriage transaction, i.e. dowry andpoverty. More than one third of all child brides live in rural India. It is whereby childrenare given in matrimony – before marriageable age as defined by the commentator andoften before puberty. It is frequently associated with arranged marriage. In some casesonly one marriage-partner is a child, usually the female. The legal age for marriage in Indiais 18 years for girls and 21 for boys. Any marriage of a person younger than this is bannedunder the Child Marriage Prevention Act, 1929.It is an incontrovertible fact that a largenumber of child marriages are performed in violation of the existing provisions of the law,particularly on „Akha Teej‟ or „Akshaya Tritiya‟. When child marriage takes place, thechildren are too young to understand what marriage means. It is true that there is a largebody of social opinion and customary practice that sanctions early marriage. It is areligious tradition in many places in India and therefore difficult to change. The direconsequences that follow child marriage, particularly for girls are – the child‟s education issacrificed, girls become more vulnerable to domestic violence and due to early pregnanciestheir health gets much worse. The babies born to girls under 16 are more likely to die during their firstyear of life. UNICEF (The United Nations Childrens Fund) describes child 5
  • 6. marriage as a “gross violation of all categories of child rights.” It is a social evilthat has degraded the status of girl child in our society. Child marriage is againstthe law but the marriage itself is valid once performed, even if the child was asyoung as 5 years at the time. Police cannot make arrests without applying for aMagistrate‟s order. According to Registrar General of India (RGI) Report 2001, Rajasthan(40.8 %) of female‟s marriage before 18, followed by Bihar (39.6%), MadhyaPradesh (34.1%), Jharkhand (32.9%) and Andhra Pradesh (32.3%). I have selected this topic to know the Causes, Effects of Child Marriageand Laws Prevailing to curb Child Marriage in India.  Objectives: 1. To study the History of Child Marriage. 2. To study the Types of Child Marriage. 3. To study the Causes/Reasons of Child Marriage. 4. To study the Effects/Consequences of Child Marriage. 5. To study the Laws of Child Marriage and Efforts of Government and Public to Stop Child Marriages in Rural Areas in India. 6
  • 7.  Methodology:Secondary Sources: 1. Websites: 2. Books: 1. Title : Child Marriage in India IBSN No: 81-7099 -460 -8 Published by K.M Rai Mittal for Mittal Publications, A-110, Mohan Garden, NewDelhi - 1100592. Title Child Marriage in India: Socio-Legal and Human Rights Dimensions 7
  • 8. Author Jaya Sagade Edition 2, illustrated Publisher Oxford University Press India, 2012 ISBN No: 0198079796, 9780198079798  History of Child Marriage in India:1. Political turmoil Child marriage, also known as Bal Vivaha, is believed to have begun during themedieval ages of India. At this time, the political atmosphere was turbulent andruled by Delhi Sultans in an absolute monarchy government. The sultans had anextreme commitment to their religion and forced many to convert, causing socio-cultural unrest, and Hindu women suffered the most. These days of the DelhiSultans produced practices such as child marriage and lowered the status ofwomen even further. They invented the ill omen of giving birth to a female babyand believed that young unmarried girls caused disaster. Child marriage became awidespread cultural practice with various reasons to justify it, and many marriageswere performed while the girl was still an infant.2. Military alliances Indian feudalistic society became present, where characteristics such ashonor, rivalry, and animosity were important qualities to possess, and because ofthis, families and kingdoms created strong military alliances to preserve or destroypower between them. To ensure the alliance was upheld by both sides, each familyexchanged a young member of their household who was reared and educated at theother familys estate. The children were the assurance that the alliance betweenthe families was honored, but in case it wasnt enough, the families made amarriage arrangement to deepen the alliance even further. They believed themarriage wouldnt work if they waited for the young children to grow up becausethey could possibly pick someone outside of the alliance. If they performed themarriage while the children were still young and susceptible to their parents 8
  • 9. influence, the children would have no choice but to marry who their parents chooseto strengthen the alliance.3. The caste system The caste system is also believed to have contributed to the growth of childmarriage. Castes, which are based on birth and heredity, do not allow two people tomarry if they are from different castes. This system was threatened by youngpeoples emotions and desires to marry outside their caste, so out of necessity;child marriage was created to ensure the caste system continued.4. Social reasons Child marriage tradition in India has social reasons too. Indians performedchild marriages to get their girls protected against rapes and abductions byforeign rulers. The other reason was to strengthen family relations and bonds, andto satisfy the elder people who wanted to see their grand children marriagesbefore their death. However in child marriage system, the parents used to sendtheir girls to their husband‟s house only after attaining Puberty. Child marriagescaused the young couple to lead family life regardless of likes and dislikes. In someeconomically poor families, the parents used to perform marriages to their underaged girls even with much elderly men. Some families used to perform childmarriages with a fear that the children may deviate off the track after reachingteenage.  Types of Child Marriage in Rural India:1. Promissory marriage, whereby a verbal promise is made at infancy or even at childbirth by the parents to have their children get married.2. Child marriage, in which both the children Female and Male are below 18 and 21 years respectively. 9
  • 10. 3. Child marriage in which Females being underage for marriage are married to old Mens.  Causes/Reasons For Child Marriage:Why is Child Marriage Still Existing in Rural Areas of India?There are many factors which sustain the continuation of the practice of childmarriage in rural India. Poverty and social norms intended to ensure family honorand protect girls are significant factors that increase the risks for a girl to bemarried while still a child. These factors manifest themselves in the followingcollective and individual attitudes and beliefs which are still widespread in India: 10
  • 11. 1. Unmarried girls are considered a liability to family honor. Child marriage is a way to ensure chastity and virginity of the bride, thus avoiding potentially dishonoring of the family. 2. Dowry perpetuates child marriage as it encourages parents to marry off their girls early to avoid an increase in the dowry amount (more educated girls usually require a higher dowry). Although giving or receiving dowry is a crime under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, it is still a common practice. 3. Girls are considered an economic burden for their family of origin and a “paraya dhan” or property that belongs to the marital family. Hence, the tendency is to marry girls as early as possible and reduce investment in their daughters. 4. Investing in girl‟s education is not considered worthy as girls will be moving to the groom‟s household and will be employed in household chores. On the other hand, the limited education and livelihood options for girls lead to marriage being one of the few options for girl‟s future. 5. Impunity, weak law enforcement and limited knowledge of the law by society perpetuate child marriage in rural areas. The parents of child brides are often poor and use marriage as a way toprovide for their daughter‟s future, especially in areas where there are feweconomic opportunities for women. Some families use marriage to build andstrengthen alliances, to seal property deals, settle disputes or pay off debts. Insome cultures, child marriage is encouraged to increase the number of pregnanciesand ensure enough children survive into adulthood to work on family land andsupport elderly relatives. Chastity is another major reason, and many parents wantto make sure their daughters do not have a child outside marriage. There are manyother cultural reasons for child marriage. In India‟s southern state of Tamil Nadu,some communities have a strong social stigma against girls being married after 11
  • 12. puberty. Some people in Ethiopia‟s Amhara region believe that menstruation isinduced by intercourse. Some also fear that if girls receive an education, they willbe less willing to fulfill their traditional roles as wife and mother. The number ofchild marriages often increases during conflicts or natural disasters, when familiesseek protection for their daughters or money for themselves. Parents say thatafter one to three years after the girl attains puberty, they have to be married.Most girls are engaged or married as early as 5 years old and once she attendspuberty, she is sent to the husband‟s house. It is true that it still prevails in ruralvillages. According to the parents, the reason behind getting their children marriedat early age is to protect them from exploitation. “We never know what will happento our daughters when they are away from us, when they go to school, they mightbe raped. The girls might fall in love and could elope with somebody, to avoid thesesituations; they get them married as early as possible. Some of the other reasons for early marriages are: it is less expensive whenmass marriages are organized; it is a good time for the parents to marry off theirchildren before they reach adolescence. It is a protection issue for girls, so if thegirls are married at an early age, they are protected. Parents want to transfer theburden of guarding the girl child to the husband and his family. Parents feel theirdaughter is secured once she is married. In economically disadvantaged regions, poor families see child marriage oftheir boy as a way to improve their lot in life. A dowry, for example, will helpsupport the family and shelter their child from financial problems. In rural areas,such marriages play a role in the preservation of culture and strengthen the tiesbetween important families.Child Marriage as a Custom Customs are practices which are inherited from the past and which areaccepted and respected by the members of a community. Child marriage, forcedmarriage or arranged marriage is viewed as a custom which has a harmful effect on 12
  • 13. children‟s health. In effect, children who are forced to marry against their willare subjected to trauma which endangers their physical and mental development.There are two fundamental reasons behind child marriage-Poverty and Economic Transactions, and Notions of Moralityand Honor.1. Poverty and Economic Transactions-Poverty is a critical factor which encourageschild marriages. Rather, it is a reason behind that. In communities where childmarriage is thought to be a transaction that often represents a significanteconomic activity for the family, the girl child is the only commodity the family haswith it to trade and sometimes to use it as a currency to settle a debt. Insome poor rural areas young girls are considered to be properties of their parentswho can attain greater wealth and are married in early years to old rich men.2. Notions of Mortality and Honour-Notions of Mortality and Honour have beenenshrined deeply in many cultures. These factors encourage the practice of childmarriage. High values have been placed on female virginity in Indian culture sincevery long. It is being considered shameful if a girl going to marry is not virgin.Hence, parents stand searching appropriate groom for their daughters even earlierto her puberty.Over all Major Reasons attributed for early marriageincludes 1. Poor families view girl child as burden which leads to the practice of illegal sex- selective abortion (750 to 850 girls are born per 1000 boys). 2. Rampant dowry system (giving bride price). 3. Parents from poor dalit and tribal families view early marriage as protection against dangers of sexual assault. 13
  • 14. 4. Early marriage and young girls getting married to men above 60 is common among naicker community from family property protection perspective.  Consequences/Effects of Child Marriage: Child marriage is a major social concern and a violation of children’s rights– whether it happens to be a girl or a boy as it denies the basic rights to health,nutrition, education, freedom from violence, abuse and exploitation and deprivesthe child of his/her childhood. Child marriage is a common practice all throughoutthe country but it affects girls in rural areas (48%) more than in urban regions(29%). In India, especially in rural villages, many children particularly girls as youngas 13 to 16 years are forced into marriage by their parents, guardians or relatives.Child marriage has adverse effects for the child and for the society as a whole.For both girls and boys, marriage has a strong physical, intellectual, psychologicaland emotional impact, cutting off educational opportunities and chances of personalgrowth. While boys are affected by child marriage, this is an issue that impactsupon girls in far larger numbers and with more intensity. The consequences forgirls are especially dire, as they are usually compelled into early childbearing andsocial isolation. Child brides will frequently drop out of school and be exposed tohigher risk of domestic violence and abuse, increased economic dependence, denialof decision-making power, inequality at home, which further perpetuatesdiscrimination and low status of girls/women. Furthermore, they are completelyunprepared, both physically and mentally, to undergo pregnancy and childbirth.Many of them give birth prematurely to infants whose chances of survival will belower than normal. Indeed, the experience of giving birth may prove fatal notsimply for the infant but for the mother as well. Surveys on child marriages that have been carried on in villages in India,show that child marriages contribute to numerous social problems like soaring birthrates, acute poverty and malnutrition, high illiteracy and infant mortality and lowlife expectancy etc. In rural areas of Rajasthan state in India, a survey of morethan 5000 women conducted in 1995 by the central government showed that 56percent of women were married before attaining the age of maturity. Even 15.3 14
  • 15. percent of these were married before the age of 5 years and the 14% weremarried before the age of 10 years. Out of every 1000 births, 73 children died intheir infancy and 103 were under the age of 5 when they died. Sixty three percentof the children fewer than 4 years of age were found to be severelyundernourished.Child Marriage and Health1. Child marriage is associated with several health risks for the young mother, asearly marriage may cause complications in pregnancies at a tender age when thebody is not fully prepared for child bearing. Girls age 15-19 are more likely (66.6%)to experience delivery complications compared to 21-29 year-old women (29.7%)2. Risks of HIV/AIDS infection are higher among young girls as their negotiationskills and experience to ensure a healthy sexual life are less developed.Early maternal deathsGirls who marry earlier in life are less likely to be informed about reproductiveissues, and because of this, pregnancy-related deaths are known to be the leadingcause of mortality among married girls between 15 and 18 years of age. These girlsare twice more likely to die in childbirth than girls between 20 and 24 years ofage. Girls younger than 15 years of age are 5 times more likely to die in childbirth.Infant healthInfants born to mothers under the age of 18 are 60% more likely to die in theirfirst year than to mothers over the age of 19. If the children survive, they aremore likely to suffer from low birth weight, malnutrition, and late physicaland cognitive development.Fertility outcomes 15
  • 16. A study conducted in rural areas in India by the International Institute forPopulation Sciences and Macro International in 2005 and 2006 showed highfertility, low fertility control, and poor fertility outcomes data within childmarriages. 90.8% of young married women reported no use of a contraceptive priorto having their first child. 23.9% reported having a child within the first year ofmarriage. 17.3% reported having three or more children over the course of themarriage. 23% reported a rapid repeat childbirth, and 15.2% reported an unwantedpregnancy.15.3%reporteda pregnancytermination (stillbirths, miscarriages or abortions). Fertility rates are higher in slums than in urban areas.ViolenceYoung girls in a child marriage are more likely to experience domestic violence intheir marriages as opposed to older women. A study conducted in India bythe International Center for Research on Women showed that girls married before18 years of age are twice as likely to be beaten, slapped, or threatened by theirhusbands and three times more likely to experience sexual violence. Young bridesoften show symptoms of sexual abuse and post-traumatic stressChild marriages have many detrimental consequences thatcan be classified as physical, psychological and social Physical Consequences: When a girl child is married in early age she is likely to be forced into sexual activity with her husband who usually remains much older than him. As the bride remains physically and sexually immature it has serious health consequences. 2. Psychological and Social Consequences: A girl child married in her early agehas to lift the huge responsibility of playing the role of a wife and mother. Sincesuch girls are not prepared to become a wife and mother, this heavy burden has aserious impact on the psychological welfare and relationship of these children.Early marriages have also been found to have connections with abandonment andincreased levels of divorce. Child brides often face the danger of being widowed by 16
  • 17. their husbands due to old, disease or other reasons. Some brides often becomedomestic slaves of their in-laws.Problems faced during initial days in the Marital home byYoung Brides Young brides often face problem in their husband‟s house. Being small and youngthey are made to do daily household chores includes getting up early in the morningand mopping/cleaning of rooms at least three times a day (in the morning aftergetting up, before having food twice a day); washing utensils (twice or more a day);washing clothes; collecting drinking water from outside, which is often at a distantplace; collect cow dung, straws to be used as fuel for cooking; feedingdomesticated animals and taking them to field; besides taking care of theirchildren and in-laws. The problem was further aggravated by big family size andthe joint family type when the young bride had to do all these tasks for a largenumber of family members. To quote a young woman, “I feel weak in performingsuch workload and if I cannot finish-off my work in time, my husband beats me up.When I speak about my weakness to my in-laws, they say I am stating falsereasoning for avoiding household works”.Over All Child Marriage have many serious harmfulconsequences for children, including: 1. Girls married early are denied of their education rights. Once married, girls tend not to go to school. 2. Early marriage also results in early widowhood in the region. Most girls who are married to elderly men on account of protection of family property, lose their husband very early and turn out to be a reject in the society. This also denies their participatory rights at the young age. 3. Early married girls have a double pregnancy death rate of women in their 20s. 17
  • 18. 4. Additionally, from having babies too young, girls are at an extremely high risk for vaginal and anal ruptures. 5. The babies of young married girls are sick and weaker and many do not survive childhood. 6. Early married girls are in high risk of being infected with sexually transmitted diseases. 7. These young girls are at an increased risk of chronic anemia and obesity. 8. Girls married early have poor access to contraception. In most cases HIV infection is commonly identified among girls who married at early years. 9. Death cause for young girls between the ages of 15 and 19 is early pregnancy. 10. These young girls have a lack of educational opportunities. 11. Being forced into an early marriage creates a lifetime of poverty. 12. Most girls who are married before 18 are face with domestic violence, sexual abuse, and murder. Children who refuse to marry or who choose a marriage partner against the wishes of their parents are often punished or even killed by their families in so-called „honor killings‟ Laws of Child Marriage and Efforts of Government and Public to Stop Child Marriages in Rural India: More than 40 per cent of the worlds child marriages take place in India inrural areas, even though the legal age for wedding is 18 and 21 for girl and boyrespectively, reported UNICEF. Child marriage is of course banned in India and theIndian government has taken a strong step to tighten laws against child marriage,but unfortunately this custom continues to exist in spite of legal interdictions.According to the new bill, Prohibition of Child Marriage Bill 2006, the priests,police or local leaders will be jailed and fined if they will be found indulged in thisillegal practice. This bill grants protection to many children forced into marriageevery year in the rural parts of the country. 18
  • 19. To stop such child marriages, the Indian government is aiming to createstricter and more easily-enforced laws, since the current legal atmosphere is nothaving a widespread enough effect. Currently, the police cannot arrest theorganizers of mass child marriages without applying for a magistrates order,which may take days. The punishment and fines are also not severe enough to stopthe practice. Proposed changes include stronger punishment, a compulsoryregistration of all marriages rather than merely religious rites, the appointment ofanti-child marriage officers in every state, and making a law requiring anyone whoattends a child marriage to report the marriage. A further recent proposal is toadminister campaigns to encourage poor families to participate in mass marriagesof sons and daughters who are over the legal age to get married, in order to savecosts of dowries and wedding arrangements. The central government of India has enforced Child Marriage Restraint Act –1929, revised on 1 Oct. 1978 through which it has raised the legal age of marriageas 18 years for girls and 21 years for boys.Legislation and Enforcement1. The Government of India has adopted the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act in 2006, replacing the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929. a. It extends to the whole of India (except the State of Jammu and Kashmir) and it applies also to all citizen of India without and beyond India.2. Complementarily, the Compulsory Registration of Marriages Act, 2006.3. The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 and Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 reinforce India‟s legal framework against child marriage.4. Child marriage is an offence punishable with rigorous imprisonment, which may extend to 2 years, or with fine up to Rs. 1 Lac, or both;5. Child marriage is a cognizable and non-bail able offence; Child marriages are voidable and can be annulled; 19
  • 20. In addition to the national legal and policies to eliminate child marriage, thecentral and state governments have many initiatives in place to address childmarriage indirectly by focusing on the development of the girl child and promotinggirl‟s education. The Indian government has voted a new bill, people marrying children andpeople involved in these practices, people abetting or attending a child marriagewould face up to two years in prison and a fine of 100,000 rupees. The new bill hasthe provision to appoint "child marriage prohibition officers" in each of India‟sstates. They will keep an eye on the practice and will collect evidence to prosecutesuch cases. Further, Courts have been empowered to rule a child marriage null andvoid even after many years of the practice. In addition, the husband will be forcedto give compensation and residence to his former wife. Unfortunately, in spite ofthe legal announcements made by the Supreme Court, there are many cases whichhardly enter the register logs. Government has also introduced number of Advertisement on television tostop child marriage by focusing on issues of ill-health and complications for girls ifthey are married before the age of 18. Government is trying to make parentsunderstand that not to get their daughter marry before age of 18. Government is also giving free education to girls in rural areas so that theydon‟t become burden on their parents and become self independent. Education alsohelps the girls to recognize what is right and wrong and stand for themselves. Public are also contributing in order to stop child marriage by way of serialson television. One of the popular show on child marriage in rural areas of Rajasthanis Balika Vadhu currently on television. People are liking the show and understandingthe problems faced by young underage brides. Conclusion: 20
  • 21. In view of this project, I consider these marriages crimes not only againstthe children to be married but also against all of humanity. Child marriage is ofcourse banned in India and the Indian government has taken a strong step totighten laws against child marriage, but unfortunately this custom continues toexist in spite of legal restrictions. Ending child marriage is challenging becauseeven parents who are aware of its negative impact may find it too difficult toresist the economic and social pressures as well as the heavy weight of thetradition. However, the law alone cannot curb this harmful social practice. A change inpsyche of the backward and illiterate people is required. Education and theempowerment of women are, beyond a doubt, two of the best remedies in a largelymale-dominated and country. Repeated studies have shown that education plays an important role toeliminate child marriage. Research by UNICEF shows that the more education agirl receives, the less likely she is to be married as a child. Improving access toeducation and eliminating gender gaps in education are therefore importantstrategies for ending the practice of child marriage. As poverty is one of the maincause of child marriage and more than half of the rural Indian population live underthe poverty line and have no money to afford a decent shelter or a proper meal, itis the duty of the Government to promote long-term policies to develop the ruralareas and impart education in remote areas, to uplift the poor living conditions andenhance instructive projects of education and health care facilities. Because ofpoverty and lack of education precisely many desperate parents from the poorclass get their minor daughters married in return of money as old men pay aconsiderable sum to achieve young girls. Only when a joint effort is made, will thecountry rise and prosper, and the worthless customs such as child marriage willcease to exist and happy educated children will make a better future and a healthynation. 21
  • 22.  References:1. Websites: 2. Books: 22
  • 23. 1. Title: Child Marriage in India IBSN No: 81-7099 -460 -8 Published by K.M Rai Mittal for Mittal Publications, A-110, Mohan Garden, NewDelhi - 110059 2. Title: Child Marriage in India: Socio-Legal and Human Rights Dimensions Author: Jaya Sagade Edition: 2, illustrated Publisher: Oxford University Press India, 2012 ISBN No: 0198079796, 9780198079798 23