Child marriage in India, according to the Indian law, in a marriage where either the woman is below the age of 18 or the man is below the age of 21. Most child marriages involve girls, many of whom are in poor socio-economic conditions.
Child marriage was outlawed in 1929, under Indian law. However, in the British colonial times, the legal minimum age of marriage was set at 14 for girls and 18 for boys.
The minimum legal age for marriage was increased to 15 for girls in 1949, and to 18 for females and 21 for males in 1978.
Prohibition of Child Marriage Act
The Indian Government enacted the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act of 2006 by replacing the earlier legislation of the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929, to ensure that child marriage is eradicated from within the society.
Child Marriage Prohibition Officers (CMPO) are to be appointed in every state to prohibit child marriages, ensure the protection of the victims as well as prosecution of the offenders.
What is the punishment of child marriage?
Whoever performs any child marriage shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years and shall be liable to fine which may extend to one lakh rupees unless he proves that he had reasons to believe that the marriage was not a child marriage.