Status of child marriage

Child Marriage

Status of child marriage

It is often said that child marriage is not allowed, is illegal, is not valid but as per the governing law child marriage is valid till it is not annulled by the spouse who was child at the time of marriage means a child marriage is voidable in nature & and also void in certain circumstance.

The governing law on Child marriage is Prohibition of Child marriage Act,2006 (herein after term as 2006 Act) which has repealed the Child marriage restraint Act, 1929. According to the 1929 Act child marriage was valid but punishable but now after the enactment of 2006 Act Child marriage is Voidable at the option of the party who was child at the time of marriage.

Who is child here? Girl below the age of 18 years and boy below the age of 21 year is child for the purpose of 2006 Act, means if marriage performed or to be performed then provision of 2006 Act will apply upon the said marriage

What is voidable & void marriage? In case of voidable marriage, the marriage is valid till it is not annulled by the contracting party i.e if a girl below 18 years or boy below 21 years perform marriage then he or she can take decree of nullity from court and after obtaining such decree marriage will become nothing in the eyes of law. However, if decree of nullity not obtained then such marriage will be valid marriage. Void marriage, is a marriage which is null and void i.e nothing in the eye of law from it’s inception.

In both type of marriage above parties not required to obtain divorce rather they need to obtain the decree of nullity from court. However, such decree should have been obtained within a period of 2 years from becoming major means girl before the age of 20 years and boy before the of 23 years, after this age they have to take the divorce from court to get separate.

Status of child marriage

Circumstances in which child marriage is void are —Where a child, being a minor—

(a) is taken or enticed out of the keeping of the lawful guardian; or

(b) by force compelled, or by any deceitful means induced to go from any place; or (c) is sold for the purpose of marriage; and made to go through a form of marriage or if the minor is married after which the minor is sold or trafficked or used for immoral purposes, such marriage shall be null and void. In all other cases child marriage is voidable.

What about child born from Child marriage?

As per section 6 of 2006 Act if child born out of child marriage, then such child is legitimate child if he begotten at anytime before obtaining the decree of nullity.

Who is punishable for child marriage?

Person who abets, promote, solemnise, perform, conduct, are punishable as per the provision of 2006 Act and also parents, guardian or the person who is in charge of child at the time of marriage punishable and if husband is adult and wife is minor then that husband shall be liable for rigorous imprisonment of 2 years as per section 10 of 2006 Act.

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