'Child marriage victims should not be seen as accused'

District and Sessions Judge M G Uma said judges should be sensitive to the victims of child marriage and work towards providing them compensation and rehabilitation.

Speaking at a workshop on Prevention of Child Marriage Act, 2006 organised by the Law and Women and Child Development Departments for judges in the city on Sunday, she said, “The victims of child marriage should not be seen as accused during the probe into child marriage incidents. Judges should give preference to improve the standard of living of the victims. The law against child marriage was passed way back in 1929. Later, these laws were amended in 1949 and 1978. In spite of effective laws to curb the evil practice, the number of child marriages have not come down. About 1.5 crore child marriages take place across the world annually. Studies have shown that poverty, superstitious beliefs, social background, illiteracy and mentality towards girl child are a few reasons for the child marriages.”

She observed that child marriage cases have not been reported in Dakshina Kannada district in the last few years and lauded efforts of the officials in preventing the child marriages. Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim said it is a tragedy that child marriage issue being discussed even after 68 years of independence.

“We should remember that the movement  against child marriage began in the 18th century in India. At some instances, child marriages have taken place in front of elected representatives and political leaders in different parts of the country. The organisers of mass marriages should ascertain the age of the bride and the groom,” he said.

Family Court Principal Judge Baindur Shankar Rao, Women and Child Development Department Deputy Director Sundar Poojary and others were present in the programme.

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