Fight against child marriage gets only tough: Judge

Principal District and Sessions Court Judge K S Mudgal on Sunday said the challenge of fighting child marriages was becoming wider with 28 child marriages reported every minute across the world.

Addressing the gathering after inaugurating a day-long workshop for judges and legal practitioners on ‘Disposal of Cases Related to Child Marriage’, organised by District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) and Women and Child Development Department at DLSA auditorium, here, the judge said, “According to a report, every year 17 million underage girls are getting married across the world. Illiteracy and poor economic background continues to be the main reasons for the menace. It is high time, people are educated about impact of such early marriages on the health of the children’.

If such marriages continue, an estimated 1.2 billion girls may enter wedlock by the year 2050. Boys are also victims of the menace. It is evident with nearly 33 million men, were married before attaining 15 years of age and 156 million before they could attain 18 years. While 33 per cent of women are victims of child marriage, she said.

When compared to boys, girls are largely affected by early marriage and form the major chunk of the victims. Marriage at younger age is also a violation of human rights and it also dis-empowers girls. After marriage, a majority of girls discontinue their education and thus are deprived of many skills.

Child marriage hinders the achievement of Millenium Development Goals. Simply put, the international community will not fulfil its commitments to reduce global poverty unless it tackles child marriages, she said, adding, through partnership, long-term programmes and a willingness to learn from our successes and failures, child marriages can be brought to an end.

Deputy Director for Women and Child Development Department K Radha said that despite stringent laws and vigilance by law enforcing agencies, many villagers blatantly continue to practice child marriage in the name of tradition.

The menace is rampant in tribal and rural regions in the State. It can be controlled with the joint efforts of various law enforcing agencies, opined Radha.

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