What is a child marriage?
A marriage to which either of the contracting party is a child.
S2 (b) of The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
Child or minor under this law is defined as 18 years in the case of
girls and 21 years in the case of boys.
S2 (b) of The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
Facts & Figures:
More than half of the women in India are married
before the legal minimum age of 18. By contrast, men in
the same age group get married at a median age of 23.4
years. Sixteen percent of men aged 20-49 are married by
age 18 and 28 percent by age 20. (Source: Summary of
Reasons Why Child Marriages Continue
Girl Child viewed upon as liability largely due to high socioeconomic & cultural costs attached to marriage leading to
Demand for younger Bride reduces
vis high dowry for older girls
marriage costs vis a
Dependency syndrome - Parents see marriage as a way to
secure the girl’s future socially and economically.
Illiteracy, Lack of awareness and systemic inactiveness of
the administration in proper implementation of laws
contributes towards the evil of Child Marriage going
Consequences of Child Marriage
Human Rights Violation: A violation of Child Rights to a
free life devoid of exploitation, full care and protection.
Denial of basic right to a respectful and decent childhood
their basic rights to good health, nutrition, education, and
freedom from violence, abuse and exploitation.
Subjection to Physical, mental and emotional trauma and
also life threatening circumstances to which the child is
not prepared what awaits hi,
Marriage entails family and societal responsibilities and
also acts as licence though illegal in context of child
marriage to engage in sexual activity amounting to child
sexual abuse and rape.
Exposure to high risk diseases HIV/AIDS & STI; poor
health and quality of life
High incidence of MMR and IMR
Lack of economic opportunities due to lack of education
Endless and vicious cycle of domestic violence and abuse
In the pretext of marriage, entailing Human trafficking
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act,2006 (PCMA)
was enacted repealing the Child Marriage Restraint Act
of 1929 in order to prohibit child marriages rather
than only restraining them.
has been enforced with effect from 1st
November, 2007. It makes child marriage an offence
and prescribes punishment for those conducting/
abetting/ promoting/permitting/ solemnizing child
It provides powers to the State Government to appoint
Child Marriage Prohibition Officers (CMPO) and
makes child marriages voidable by giving choice to the
Whom Does it Apply to?
It applies to all citizens of India irrespective of religion,
without and beyond India.
It however, does not apply to the State of Jammu and
It excludes the Renoncants of the Union Territory of
Pondicherry from its application. For them the French
Civil Laws are applicable as they are treated as
citizens of France.
The Ministry reviewed the implementation of the Act in
the Conference of State Ministers / State Secretaries of
Women and Child Development held on 16 -17th June,
2010. All States / UTs were again requested to frame
Rules under the Act and to appoint Child Marriage
Prohibition Officers. So far, 18 States/UTs have framed
Rules under the Act
Provisions under Law:
The basic premise of the law is:
To make a child go through a marriage is an offence.
Child or minor is a person up to 18 years in the case of
girls and 21 years in the case of boys7.
The provisions of this law can be classified into
three broad categories:
C. Prosecution of Offenders
More specifically, under the law: Child marriages is a
cognizable and non-bailable offence.
Appointment Of Child Protection Officers.
The Courts have the power to issue injunction for
prohibiting child marriages from taking place.
Child marriages will be declared null and void if the
injunction prohibiting a child marriage from taking
place is violated/ contravened or, if the child is taken
away from their lawful guardian by enticement, force
or use of deceitful means or, is sold or trafficked for
the purpose of marriage.
The law lays down penal provisions for those who
solemnize child marriages.
The CMPO and District Collector are responsible for
sensitisation and awareness creation in the
1. The law makes child marriages voidable by giving choice
to the children in the marriage to seek annulment of
2. It provides for maintenance and residence of the female
3. It gives a legal status to all children born from child
marriages and makes provisions for their custody and
4. Support and aid including medical aid, legal aid,
counselling and rehabilitation support to children once
they are rescued.
5. The Child Marriage Prohibition Officer has been
• to provide necessary aid to victims of child marriage
• to provide legal aid
• to produce children in need of care and protection
before the Child Welfare Committee or a First Class
Judicial Magistrate, where there is no Child Welfare
C. Prosecution of Offenders
The law provides for punishment for an adult male
above 18 years of age marrying a child.
It also lays down punishment for those performing /
conducting / abetting a child marriage.
It prescribes punishment for promoting or permitting
solemnization of child marriage, including for parents,
guardians or any other
The law clearly states that women offenders in any of
the above categories cannot be punished with
imprisonment. However, they can be penalised by way
of imposition of a fine.
Mechanisms under the law
The authorities identified :
1. Child Marriage Prohibition Officer
2. District Magistrate
3. First Class Judicial Magistrate or Metropolitan
5. Family Courts
6. Any person(s) called upon by the State Government to
assist the Child Marriage Prohibition Officer.
Where to File a Complaint?
Police Station :The police must make a DD entry (an
entry in the Daily Diary Register maintained at every
police station) and register an FIR (First Information
Report) based on such complaint.
District Magistrate A complaint can also be filed
with a Judicial Magistrate of First Class or a
Child Welfare Committee or a member of the Child
Welfare Committee set up under the Juvenile Justice
(Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 as
amended in 2006
(A complaint can be filed by any person, including
those who report an incidence of child marriage. Such
persons may include)
Role of Stakeholders that have been Identified in
the Law is as Follows:
Child Marriage Prohibition Officer: Implementation & Timely
Intervention at district level
Police: Registering of FIR; Report the matter to CMPO. Magistrate
for Injunction, provide support in intervention and take actions
under procedures laid down in the Code of Criminal Procedure,
District Magistrate: As the prohibition officer with regard to
section 13 (4) i.e. when mass child marriages are taking place &
responsible for enforcing an injunction under section 13.
Panchayat Members: Play leading role in preventing child
marriages, protecting the victims as well as supporting the
concerned authorities in evidence building so as to prosecution of
Teachers: liable under section 16 to provide assistance to the Child
Marriage Prohibition Officer to prevent child marriages. Inform
the nearest police station as soon Visit the nearest Judicial or
Executive Magistrate to record a complaint Make a phone call or
write to the nearest police station/SP (Superintendent of
Police)/Child Line/Child Welfare Committee/ the Department of
Women and Child Development or the Social Welfare Department
in the state, etc
Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929
1. Short titled, extent and commencement.
(1) This Act may be called the Child Marriage Restraint Act
(2) It extends to the whole of Pakistan and applies to all
citizens of Pakistan wherever they may be.
(3) It shall come into force on the 1st day of April, 1939.
In this Act, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject
(a) “child” means a person who, if a male, is under eighteen
years of age, and if a female, is under sixteen years of age;
(b) “child marriage” means a marriage to which either of the
contracting parties is a child;
(c) “contracting party” to a marriage means either of the
parties whose marriage is or is about to be thereby
(d) “minor” means person of either sex who is under eighteen
years of age,
(e) “Union Council” means the Union Council or the Town
Committee constituted under the Law relating to Local
Government for the time being in force.
4. Punishment for male adult above eighteen
years of age marrying a child.
Whoever, being a male above eighteen years of age, contracts
child marriage shall be punishable with simple imprisonment
which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to
one thousand rupees, or with both.
Punishment for solemnizing a child
Whoever performs, conducts or directs any child marriage shall
be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to one
month, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or
with both, unless he proves that he had reason to believe that the
marriage was not a child marriage.
Punishment for parent or guardian
concerned in a child marriage.
(1) Where a minor contracts a child marriage any person having
charge of the minor, whether as parent or guardian or in any other
capacity, lawful or unlawful, who does any act to promote the
marriage or permits it to be solemnized, or negligently fails to
prevent it from being solemnized, shall be punishable with simple
imprisonment which may extend to one month, or with fine which
may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both:
(2) For the purpose of this section, it shall be presumed, unless
and until the contrary is proved, that where a minor has
contracted a child marriage, the person having charge of such
minor has negligently failed to prevent the marriage from being
7. Imprisonment not to be awarded for offence under section 3.
Notwithstanding anything contained in section 25 of the General
Clauses At, 1897, or section 64 of the Pakistan Penal Code,
Court sentencing an offender under section 3 shall not be
competent to direct that, in default of payment of the fine
imposed, he shall undergo only term of imprisonment.
8. Jurisdiction under this Act.
Notwithstanding anything contained in section 90 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1898, no Court other than that of a
Magistrate of the First Class shall take cognizance of or try any
offence under this Act.
9. Mode of taking cognizance of offence.
No Court shall take cognizance of any offence under this Act
except on a complaint made by the Union Council, or if there is no
Union Council in the area, by such authority as the Provincial
Government may in this behalf prescribe, and such cognizance
shall in no case be taken after the expiry of one year from the
date on which the offence is alleged to have been committed.
Power to issue injunction prohibiting
marriage in contravention of this Act.
(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Act,
the Court may, if satisfied from information laid before it through a
complaint or otherwise that a child marriage in contravention of
this Act has been arranged or is about to be solemnized, issue an
injunction against any of the persons mentioned in sections 3, 4, 5
and 9 of this Act prohibiting such marriage.
(2) No injunction under sub-section (1) shall be issued against any
person unless the Court has previously given notice to such
person, and has afforded him an opportunity to show-cause
against the issue of the injunction.
(3) The Court may either on its own motion or on the application
of any person aggrieved, rescind or alter any order made under
(4) Where such an application is received, the Court shall afford
the applicant an early opportunity of appearing before it either in
person or by pleader, and if the Court rejects the application
wholly or in part, it shall record in writing its reasons for so doing.
(5) Whoever, knowing that an injunction has been issued
against him under sub-section (1) of this section disobeys
such injunction shall be punished with imprisonment of either
description for a term which may extend to three months, or
with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with
Provided that no woman shall be punishable with