Marriageable Age for Boys and Girls
The Government of India enacted the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) 2006, prohibiting the solemnisation of child marriages and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. This Act came into force with effect from 1st November 2007. PCMA States that:
i. To make a child go through a marriage is an offence.
ii. Child under this law is defined as 18 years in the case of girls and 21 years in the case of boys.
The age of marriage as prescribed in the PCMA 2006 is universally applicable to all communities across India except Jammu and Kashmir.
For effective implementation of the Act, State Governments have been requested from time to time to notify rules under PCMA 2006. In addition, following steps have been taken to address the issue of Child Marriage:
i. National Commission for Women (NCW) has requested the State Chief Ministers to sensitize and gear up the concerned machinery of the State Governments against those involved in the incidence of child marriage.
ii. Every year, State Governments are requested to take special initiative to delay marriage on Akha Teej the traditional day for such marriages, by coordinated efforts.
iii. The Government of India launched SABLA, a Scheme for empowering adolescent girls, in 200 districts of the country on 19th November 2010. The Scheme aims at empowering adolescent girls (11-18 years) by improving their nutritional and health status and upgrading various skills like home skills, life skills and vocational skills etc. and building awareness on various issues. They are also sensitized towards the importance of marriage at the right age. By empowering adolescent girls, the Scheme addresses the issue of child marriage.
iv. Workshops, seminars and legal awareness camps are organized in various States by the Ministry and its autonomous institutions to spread awareness and bring attitudinal changes to prevent child marriage.
This was stated by Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister for Women and Child Development, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha today. (09.05.2013)
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