Wedding hall owners, temples asked to verify bride's age

Ramanagar district administration gears up to prevent child marriages

Following an increase in the number of child marriages, Ramanagar Deputy Commissioner V Sriramareddy has issued orders to wedding hall owners and temple authorities in the district to obtain certain documents as proof of age from bride and bridegroom before permitting marriage ceremonies on their premises.

Owners of wedding halls and temple authorities should allow marriages only after obtaining valid documents showing the age of the bride and bridegroom.

The documents could be birth certificate or SSLC marks card. Strict action would be taken against owners and authorities if they fail to comply with the order, the DC said.

The DC’s order comes in the wake of Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) and staff preventing five child marriages in the district during November and December 2012.

“Child marriages take place in large numbers. When alerted, we prevent such marriages. Despite our efforts, such marriages are conducted secretly. We have prevented four such marriages in Channapatna taluk and one in Ramanagar taluk,” CDPO K Radha told Deccan Herald.

The five rescued girls, all high school students, had agreed for marriage due to pressure from their parents.

Forced marriage

Three of them were supposed to marry their relatives, while in one case, the girl was forced to accept the alliance as her mother felt that the boy was from a good background. Parents of one of the girls decided to marry her off as she was not interested in studies, said CDPO sources.

One of the girls is a meritorious student and had secured 86 per cent marks in Class IX.

But her father completed the engagement formalities by keeping her, her friends and teachers in the dark.

The matter came to light when her teachers made enquiries about she being absent from school.

Teachers and parents of her friends reported the matter to the Child Development Project Officer and the marriage was prevented.

Her father was not aware that the girl was a meritorious student. He allegedly abused her whenever she woke up early in the morning for studies.

The officers convinced him that his talented daughter had a bright future and ensured that the marriage was cancelled.

‘Rigorous imprisonment’

According to the Prevention of Child Marriage Act, 2006 and 2008, child marriage is a non-bailable offence and those involved in it, directly or indirectly, would be liable for rigorous imprisonment up to two years and/or a fine of Rs one lakh.

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